Jennifer Berry, the 33-year-old mother who allegedly threw her newborn daughter out the seventh-floor window of a New York City apartment, silently faced a judge on Monday afternoon.
Berry, a former child services worker, made her second appearance at a Bronx courthouse, where she refused to testify before a grand jury on her own behalf. She’s charged with second-degree murder and manslaughter in the infant’s death.
The news of the horrific crime has shocked Berry’s friends and family. “This situation has me sad,” Giovanni Johnson, the man believed to be the baby’s father, told The New York Times. “It’s got me really shaken up.”
He added: “I lost a daughter, you know what I mean?”
Johnson’s mother, Tressonya, said she had no idea Berry was pregnant. “What I’m saying is my family is really going through something right now – a real big hardship . We’re torn apart.”
Berry’s high school classmates told The Times that the violent behavior is not consistent with the Jennifer they knew. “All I can remember is how sweet and shy and quiet she was in high school,” said Gillian Gabie-Lyons, who graduated with Berry in 2000. “You look at her, and she would smile and blush.”
Added Doug, another classmate who declined to give his last name: “Softest spoken girl I ever met in my life . She might’ve been voted friendliest in class, that’s how nice she was. I never heard her say ‘boo.’ She didn’t have a temper.”
And yet, in addition to being charged in her daughter’s death last week, Berry is now also being investigated in her 2½-week-old son’s death in 2008. At the time, the medical examiner’s office said the death was due to sudden infant death syndrome, but on Wednesday the Westchester County District Attorney’s Office announced that investigators were reopening the case in the wake of last week’s incident.
“In light of what has transpired, we will be reviewing that death again,” a spokesman for the D.A.’s office said in a statement Wednesday.
Berry’s next court appearance is scheduled for Oct. 27. She has pleaded not guilty to the charges against her.
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