In the latest installment of my continuing series of follow up pieces, this one is a topic that has probably generated the most comment, either via emails or posted comments. It is the Drexel teen, Mia Sardella, who is accused of killing her newborn. See Momma Mia.
In an oddly worded caption, Witness recalls finding body in daughter’s car, the Inquirer reported on the Delaware County preliminary hearing in which Sardella was held for trial on charges of homicide, involuntary and voluntary manslaughter charges as well as abuse of a corpse. The "Witness"? Her mother:
See also, Teen Mother Of Baby Found In Car Trunk To Stand Trial.
The mother of the Drexel Hill teenager charged with killing her newborn testified yesterday about the shock of finding the corpse in the trunk of her daughter's car Jan. 22.
Stephanie Piscopo Leone was a prosecution witness at the preliminary hearing for her daughter, Mia Sardella, 19, a former Drexel University freshman.
Sardella was ordered held for trial on first-degree murder and related offenses by Magisterial District Judge Kelly A. Micozzie-Aquirre, who rejected lead defense attorney Arthur T. Donato Jr.'s contention that there was insufficient evidence to move the case forward.
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Questioned by Deputy District Attorney Michael Galantino, Leone said she had borrowed her daughter's silver VW Beetle because her own car was being inspected on Jan. 22. While in the parking lot at work, Leone said she noticed a duffle bag in the trunk and "wanted to see what was in it.
"I saw the baby's arm, and I shut the bag right away because I wasn't sure what I saw," Leone said, her voice cracking.
She said that after a coworker confirmed the discovery, she drove Leone to the Piscopos' residence in Drexel Hill.
Piscopo testified that his wife phoned him at work and he "canceled the rest of" his day and drove to Drexel University to pick up his granddaughter, whom he described as "quite distraught."
"The way she described the events . . . it was shocking to her that she was delivering a baby," he said.
Piscopo said his granddaughter was alone in her room on Jan. 1 - home on holiday break - when the baby was born. He said she did not recall the birth itself but remembered wrapping the body in a blanket because "the baby was not alive."
As a mother of a teenage daughter, I can only begin to imagine how devastating this is for Sardella's mother -- and the rest of the family. It is often said that the death of a child is the worst thing that a parent can ever experience. This may be comparable.
I think the Comments made at Momma Mia and elsewhere about this case highlight the complexity of the emotions that are involved in a situation such as this. The LATimes also has an interesting article on the phenomenon of what makes a mother kill her newborn, When mothers keep a deadly secret. All I know is that I can't judge what I would do -- in either situation -- as a mother or a daughter. I may profess a belief that I would act a certain way, but thankfully, I've never had to find out whether my actions would match my words.