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NEW CASTLE Couple seeks reduced bail in dead baby case



Published: Tue, June 26, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



By LAURE CIOFFI

VINDICATOR NEW CASTLE BUREAU

NEW CASTLE, Pa. -- Defense attorneys for an Ellwood City couple accused of leaving a newborn wrapped in plastic in the woods say their clients should be set free from jail.

Kathleen D. Winterbottom, 19, and Jason L. Wilds, 23, both of Portersville Road, Ellport, were expected to appear in Lawrence County Common Pleas Court today to ask that bail be reduced from $100,000 each to nothing.

Both have been in Lawrence County Jail since June 17 when Ellwood City Police found a newborn wrapped in a towel and a plastic garbage bag in a wooded area behind the home of Winterbottom's mother, Darlene, on Argonne Boulevard.

Winterbottom told police she miscarried the full-term boy June 10 in her apartment. Later that day, she and Wilds put the newborn's body in the woods, police said.

Both face charges of concealing the whereabouts of a child, abuse of a corpse and two counts each of conspiracy.

Matthew Mangino, county district attorney, said police are still investigating the matter and other charges could be pending.

Bond set high: Lawyers for Winterbottom and Wilds say, however, that the bond amount set by District Justice Melissa Amodie after their arrest is too high.

"These kids shouldn't be in jail," said Stephen Delpero, Wilds' attorney. "It's [$100,000], pretty excessive."

All four charges are misdemeanors and would carry a maximum sentence of one month in jail if Winterbottom and Wilds were found guilty, said Annette Hutchison, Winterbottom's attorney.

"There are a lot of things the law asks you to consider when setting bond, including the nature of the offense and how much time you are looking at [in prison if convicted]. If a person faces life in prison, they might take off. But you are not talking about a long, long time here," she said.

cioffi@vindy.com




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