Port Jervis mother sentenced to up to 15 years for her newborn's freezing death
An Orange County mother who left her newborn outside to freeze to death was sentenced Monday to serve up to 15 years behind bars.
Prosecutors and the young mother revealed details in the case.
"On November 12, 2019, she tore the umbilical cord -- the last remaining bond between the two -- with her fingernails," said Prosecutor Chris Kelly.
"I wish I could go back in time and fix my mistake. I'm asking for forgiveness for everyone," said 24-year-old Nicole Layman, of Port Jervis.
Layman begged for forgiveness as an Orange County judge sentenced her to serve four to 15 years in prison for leaving her newborn daughter to die on a cold rock in below-freezing temperatures in 2019.
"I did not know I was pregnant and was in a domestic violence relationship, and the night my daughter was born, I was severely beaten. I was in so much shock and was very scared. I'm not making any excuses for my action. I'm just asking for a little understanding," Layman said.
Authorities say neighborhood teenagers found her unclothed baby in an undeveloped lot on Hornbeck Avenue in Port Jervis.
Layman was arrested and charged with murder after an autopsy found the child died of exposure to the cold.
Prosecutors said it was 19 degrees on the night Layman admitted she left her child to die.
Layman's attorney, Andrew Greher, said the case is a tragedy for everyone involved.
"This was a difficult set of facts. There was an obviously a lot at play here - not just the moment in time in which the child was born and left by my client, which was obviously a terrible decision," he said.
Layman pleaded guilty to manslaughter as part of a deal in 2021.