A Bethesda woman has been sentenced to 18 months in jail for killing her newborn baby last summer.
Ellen Griever, 22, was sentenced Wednesday on her guilty plea to a charge of child abuse resulting in death.
Griever brought the body of the full-term baby girl to Holy Cross Hospital in June 2006 and told workers there that the baby was stillborn. She later told police that the baby was born alive in the bathroom of her boyfriend’s house.
Prosecutors asked Montgomery County Circuit Judge Eric Johnson for a term of 12 to 20 years. The judge said he imposed the shorter sentence so she would go to the Montgomery County jail to receive some meaningful treatment.
Yesterday, reality came into sharp focus for Griever, a former child-care worker, as a Montgomery County judge sentenced her to 18 months in jail for delivering a full-term baby girl into a toilet last summer and doing nothing to keep her alive as the newborn made “gurgling” noises and moved around.
Investigators called Griever’s behavior before the birth unfathomable and her calm demeanor afterward bewildering. She told detectives in videotaped interviews that she kept the pregnancy from her boyfriend, Joey Piemontese, because she was afraid he would leave her.
“She is not remorseful in those videotapes,” Assistant State’s Attorney Deborah W. Feinstein said. “She was not sad. It was chilling watching those videotapes.”
Prosecutors said in a sentencing memorandum that Griever was at Piemontese’s house June 25 last year when she delivered the baby on his toilet about 5 a.m.
Griever told detectives that the baby “like gurgled” for less than a minute, prosecutors said. According to the memorandum, when a detective asked why the baby stopped moving and making noises, Griever said, “I don’t know, unless it was choking on its own mucus or whatever.”
Her boyfriend came to the bathroom shortly after the delivery and helped Griever move to the shower, prosecutors said. She told detectives that she left the baby in the toilet most of the day before placing her in a plastic bag that night, they said.
Griever called Holy Cross Hospital that evening and spoke to someone who encouraged her to come in with the baby. Early the next morning, Griever placed the baby, in a bag, in the trunk of her boyfriend’s car.
Griever and Piemontese then drove to his father’s house, where Griever took a bath and the two watched the animated film “Finding Nemo” and “The Ellen DeGeneres Show.” The baby’s body was left in the trunk, prosecutors said.
That afternoon, Griever went to Holy Cross, where she told hospital workers that she hadn’t known she was pregnant and that the baby was stillborn. Medical examiners later determined that the baby’s head was in a position that prevented her from breathing and that she was asphyxiated.
Later, Griever told homicide detectives that a previous pregnancy had resulted in an abortion. “I was mostly worried, also, because I was like, I was afraid Joey would leave me,” she told detectives, according to the memorandum.