Father of slain infant confronts the mother: ‘You’re just a baby-killer’

A Baton Rouge man waited two long years to confront his ex-girlfriend about giving birth in 2002 to their child — a child he never knew existed — and discarding the infant in the trash. When he finally got his chance Monday, he didn’t hold back, calling her a “baby-killer” and sociopathic liar.

Shortly after Matthew Crane gave his victim impact statement inside state District Judge Trudy White’s courtroom, the judge sentenced JoAnn King, 30, to 12 years in prison.

King pleaded guilty last month to charges of manslaughter and cruelty to a juvenile, and appeared to avoid making eye contact with Crane as he stood just a few feet from her and repeatedly looked at her as he spoke at her sentencing hearing.

Crane, 30, said he only wishes King had shown the same mercy to their infant daughter that he showed to King in agreeing to her plea deal. King originally was charged with second-degree murder, which could have carried a life prison term.

“After I walk out of here, you are no longer a free person. Enjoy the next 10 years of your life,” Crane said, referring to the actual amount of prison time King is expected to serve.

King had been free on bond until Monday.

Crane told White he was only in King’s life for about a year and described her as highly intelligent.

“You had incredible potential. You could have had a good effect on society,” he said to King.

Crane said he doesn’t buy King’s “poor little me attitude” and noted his mother paid for King’s food and clothing when they were together.

“You never came to us for help,” Crane said of King’s 2002 pregnancy, which he said he didn’t learn of until 2012, when she was arrested and charged with murder. “She never told me. She lied to the police. She said she was raped.”

Crane said he truly believes King is a sociopath and the last couple of years have been “a game for you.”

“You’re just a baby-killer,” he said. “I can’t tell you the amount of anguish I’ve had.”

King’s court-appointed attorney, Fred Kroenke, has said the woman is bipolar and also extremely remorseful for her actions, but Crane suggested otherwise.

“You honestly don’t think you’ve done anything wrong,” he said while glaring at King.

King was arrested two years ago after DNA evidence linked her to the child. Additional DNA testing sought by Crane confirmed late last year that he was the biological father.

King admitted in January 2012 to killing the baby in December 2002 by throwing the infant into a trash bin.

BFI garbage truck workers discovered the child on Dec. 6, 2002, dangling from a ripped garbage bag in the back of the truck in the 2200 block of Iberia Street.

The workers found the infant just before she would have passed through the garbage compactor.

The baby, who probably had been born the day before, died from a blow to the head, likely once she was in the truck, the East Baton Rouge Parish Coroner’s Office has said.

The child is buried at Greenoaks Memorial Park as Christine Noel Love, the name given by a private group called Threads of Love. The group provided a funeral in December 2002 at Babyland, an array of infant graves at the cemetery.

Crane wants to give his daughter the name Cecilia Noelle Crane.

King will be on supervised home incarceration for five years after she is released from prison, prosecutor April Leon said. If King violates that portion of her sentence, she could be ordered to spend another 10 years behind bars.

Louisiana has a safe haven law that provides a safe and legal last resort to prevent abandonment of a baby.

The Legislature passed a law in 2000 allowing parents to leave newborns at hospitals and police and fire stations up to 30 days after birth without being prosecuted. State lawmakers raised the number of days to 60 last year.

Additional information about the safe haven law is available by calling (800) 244-5373.