WOBURN, Mass. (AP) — An Irish nanny charged with killing a 1-year-old Massachusetts girl in her care more than two years ago was released on bail Tuesday while authorities review medical evidence.
A Middlesex Superior Court agreed to set bail at $15,000 for Aisling Brady McCarthy, who has been jailed since being charged. She will be confined to home and have to wear a GPS monitor and surrender her passport.
McCarthy’s attorney, Melinda Thompson, said her client was emotional on hearing that she would be released.
“She just cried,” Thompson said.
The lawyer added that McCarthy will obey all conditions of her release and would be staying with family while awaiting developments in the case.
McCarthy’s trial has been postponed indefinitely as the state medical examiner reviews a finding that Rehma Sabir died of traumatic head injuries and that her January 2013 death was a homicide.
McCarthy was living illegally in the U.S. and taking care of the baby in the family’s Cambridge home. She has pleaded not guilty.
Judge Maureen Hogan said her decision to grant bail was partly based on assurances from federal immigration officials that if McCarthy wore a GPS monitor, she would still be considered in state custody and they would not move to have her deported back to Ireland.
Despite those assurances, prosecutors argued at Tuesday’s hearing that McCarthy remained a flight risk because of her ties to Ireland and the severity of the sentence — life in prison with no chance for parole — she would face if convicted.
Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan said defendants charged with first-degree murder are usually held without bail.
“While we argued for the defendant to continue to be held in custody, the court in its discretion, made a decision to admit the defendant to bail,” Ryan said in a statement. “We remain committed to trying the case on its facts and look forward to presenting the evidence at trial.”
The coroner’s review of the case, which the judge noted was unusual, was expected to take at least another month, prosecutors said.
A doctor hired by the prosecution has changed his opinion on the timing of bone fractures that the baby sustained in the weeks before her death. Those injuries were now believed to have occurred about five to six weeks before death. The defense contends the baby was not in McCarthy’s care at that time so she could not have inflicted the prior injuries.
Assistant District Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald called new medical reports “contradictory” and said there was no guarantee the medical examiner would change the initial conclusions that led to the murder charge.
Even though Massachusetts doesn’t have the death penalty, first-degree murder still would be considered a capital crime and there’s no certainty that Ireland would send McCarthy back to the U.S. if she were to flee, he said.
Thompson called a suggestion by prosecutors that McCarthy might try to obtain a new passport from the Irish consulate “ludicrous,” saying she wants to stay and is anxious to clear her name.
“No one is trying to get Ms. McCarthy out of the country,” she said. “No one is trying to sneak her out.”
The next hearing in the case is set for May 19, and the earliest the trial could begin is July.
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