A 21-year-old Glen Head woman sobbed uncontrollably Friday in Nassau County Court while admitting she smothered her newborn daughter last year and discarded the infant’s body in a trash bag after giving birth at home.
Sharon Seudat pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter under a deal that will send her to prison for 8 years before 5 years of post-release supervision.
A grand jury had indicted the college student on charges that also included two counts of second-degree murder, which carry a maximum penalty of 25 years to life behind bars.
State Supreme Court Justice Angelo Delligatti accepted the sentencing recommendation of the district attorney’s office in deciding Seudat’s penalty. He will sentence her Jan. 8 and she remains free on $1 million bond.
Seudat cried and shook in her seat throughout Friday’s court proceeding, with Delligatti pausing more than once to let her try to compose herself.
“Take a moment. Would you like some more water?” he asked her at one point.
Seudat admitted during questioning by prosecutor Veronica Guariglia that on March 31, 2016, she caused her baby’s death in her Walnut Street home while intending to inflict serious physical injury.
Seudat also agreed she caused the child’s death by wrapping her up in sheets and blankets after delivering her, and then placing her hand over the newborn’s mouth before putting the child in a garbage bag.
Police and firefighters went to a 911 call for medical help at Seudat’s home that morning, finding her suffering from profuse vaginal bleeding before rushing her to Glen Cove Hospital.
A doctor determined she recently had delivered a child, however Seudat repeatedly denied the existence of a baby at first, according to authorities. Police found the dead, 7-pound, 5-ounce baby in a black garbage bag on the house’s back deck.
Court records show Seudat later told police she had given birth, and was sorry for what had happened, but was scared and didn’t want the baby.
Police said Seudat, who attended Nassau Community College and worked part time at a car wash, had hidden her pregnancy from her family and the child’s father.
She went into labor while her mother and brother were home, and her mother rushed into Seudat’s bedroom after hearing screams, but still wasn’t sure what was going on, according to police. They said by then, the baby was dead.
The plea came months after defense attorney Edward Lieberman filed notice he would present psychiatric evidence at Seudat’s trial. The Sea Cliff attorney told the judge Friday his client decided to plead guilty after discussing relevant defenses that included dissociative disorder and neonaticide syndrome.
Dozens of supporters surrounded Seudat after she exited the courtroom, put on sunglasses and quickly left while ignoring a request for comment.
“My client has gone through the last year and a half trying to come to grips with this tragic situation. She felt that this was the best method in concluding this matter, taking responsibility for her acts under her guilty plea and moving forward,” Lieberman said after court.
District Attorney Madeline Singas called the case heartbreaking, saying in a statement it should be a reminder that a parent can hand over an infant at a hospital, firehouse or police precinct without any repercussion under a program designed to support mothers and at-risk babies.