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Testimony Begins in "Baby Joseph" Case

It is a case that stunned the Brazos Valley.

On October 3, 2005, a newborn baby was found dead in a trash can at Texas World Speedway.

Two years later, the woman accused of the crime is on trial for murder.

Susan Chiniewicz pleaded not guilty Tuesday to killing her infant son.

Chiniewicz was indicted for capital murder, but prosecutors decided to lower it to first-degree felony murder.

If found guilty, she could face up to 99 years in prison.

Chiniewicz, who is a married, mother of three from the Dallas area, is accused of giving birth in the bathroom at Texas World Speedway, then suffocating the infant and leaving him in a trash can to die.

The state began building its case Tuesday morning against her.

During opening statements Brazos County District Attorney Bill Turner said Chiniewicz hid the pregnancy for nine months, because it was not her husband's child.

Turner said Chiniewicz was having a sexual relationship with a man from her hometown. Her husband would not be able to father a child because of a vasectomy.

For nine months, Turner said Chiniewicz hid her pregnancy with baggy clothes. She told her husband and friends she was suffering from fibroid tumors and that forced her to gain weight.

Turner told jurors Chiniewicz considered the pregnancy a problem.

"His existance was denied for an entire nine months," Brazos County District Attorney Bill Turner said. "'Baby Joseph' was unwanted from the start, was an embarrassment from the start, was a problem from the start."

Turner said that is why Chiniewicz killed her baby.

The defense deferred opening statements.

Prosecutors called several witnesses, including Jose Tirado, the Texas World Speedway maintenance man who discovered "Baby Joseph." Tirado testified he was taking trash bags out the bathrooms when he picked up one that was too heavy.

When he looked inside, he found the dead infant, and had his brother call police.

One of Chiniewicz's acquaintances, Phyliss Fulwiler, also took the stand, testifying she had talked with Chiniewicz about her supposed medical problems, months before the baby was born. She testified Chiniewicz had gained weight, but blamed it on fibroid tumors, a problem Fulwiler had experienced herself. Fulwiler implied Chiniewicz had used her medical history to make up her story.

Chiniewicz's doctor testified Chiniewicz did have ovarian cysts, but they were so small, they would not have caused her any problems.

A Brazos County Sheriff's deputy also testified, saying Chiniewicz had called her days after "Baby Joseph" was discovered.

Chiniewicz told the deputy that she had a heavy menstrual cycle and they may find her blood in the Speedway bathroom. But she said she new nothing about the baby.

The deputy testified she told the lead investigator about the phone call. That call eventually lead to an interview with Chiniewicz.

According to court documents, Chiniewicz admitted giving birth to the child, but claimed the infant was dead at birth.

DNA evidence has linked her to the child.

Prosecutors are expected to continue calling witnesses when the trial resumes at 9 a.m. Wednesday morning in the 85th District Courtroom.


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