Poconos Coal

Judge overturns murder conviction in death of 14-month-old

MAHANOY CITY, Pa. - A Schuylkill County judge has ruled a woman did not commit murder in the suffocation death of her 14-month-old granddaughter.

The judge acquitted Pietrina Hoffman of 3rd-degree murder and aggravated assault in the January 2016 death of Navaeh Doyle. Judge William E. Baldwin upheld the other six charges, including involuntary manslaughter.

Prosecutors say the Mahanoy City woman was babysitting Doyle when she fell off a couch onto the toddler, suffocating her. They say Hoffman had taken several medications, creating "a recipe for disaster." Prosecutors say Hoffman did not immediately call for help.

The defense acknowledged that Hoffman had taken medications but said she did nothing criminal. Her lawyer said she had no reason to kill the child and was distraught about what happened.

A jury convicted Hoffman of 3rd-degree murder, aggravated assault, involuntary manslaughter, possession of a firearm, endangering the welfare of a child and reckless endangerment on June 28.

Hoffman had been sentenced to 16 to 32 years in prison, but a new sentencing date has been set for November 29.

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