WASHINGTON - A Samoan woman charged in the death of her newborn son at the U.S. convent where she was studying to become a nun has been offered a plea deal for a lesser charge.
Under the agreement offered during a hearing Wednesday in Washington, 26-year-old Sosefina Amoa of the island nation of Samoa would plead guilty to voluntary manslaughter, rather than first-degree murder. Under Washington law, a manslaughter charge is punishable by up to 30 years in prison. A first-degree murder charge carries a penalty of no less than 30 years.
Amoa was arrested last week after police say she gave birth to the boy at the Little Sisters of the Poor convent, then suffocated him inside her room.
Afraid the nuns would hear the newborn's cries and discover she lied about sexual activity, police say Amoa told investigators she smothered him by placing a wool garment over the child's mouth and nose and applying pressure.
A day later she and a nun took his body, in a small luggage bag, to a hospital, police said. Investigators say they found bloody clothing and small traces of blood during a search of the convent room where Amoa had been staying.
The religious order has said in a statement that it was praying for everyone involved.
Police said Amoa told them in an interview that she had not known what to do after delivering her son — whom she named Joseph
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