Local/State

Ex-husband testifies in babysitting death trial

Friday, June 08, 2012

It was damaging evidence in Montgomery County courtroom Friday in the case of a woman charged with smothering a baby she was babysitting almost 20 years ago.

Melissa Haskell had nothing to say as she left the courtroom.

Haskell is on trial accused of suffocating 5 month old Ryan Baurley of Upper Merion almost 20 years ago.

The, then 19 year old, woman was babysitting the infant. She was apparently in need of a heroin fix and allegedly became increasingly agitated after the baby started crying.

Haskell's ex-husband Michael Leflar testified Friday that several years back his ex confessed to the killing, but it wasn't until last spring that he went to police with the information, following a bitter custody battle over the pair's son.

The defense disputes the witness's credibility.

"He's lied and manipulated every piece of evidence," said Martin Mullaney. "He's lied before every court he's been to before."

A police wiretap recording was played in court on Thursday. According to Montgomery County detectives, Leflar made his ex pinky swear that she would never hurt their son.

Haskell responded, "I pinky swear, I will never, ever, ever put my hand over Michael's mouth so he cannot breathe like I did to that baby."

Police said Thursday the defendant told them she made the false confession as a way to draw sympathy and affection from a man she loved desperately.

The trial is expected to last until the middle of next week.

The victims family declined to comment on the case.

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baby death, norristown, pennsylvania, local/state
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