Woman charged with kidnapping from Magee-Womens blocked from mental-health program

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The woman Pittsburgh police said kidnapped a 3-day-old baby from Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC last year will not be allowed to enter a specialized mental health court program.

Breona Moore, 21, of East McKeesport, was scheduled for trial earlier this month, but her defense attorneys requested a postponement to see if she would qualify for mental health court.

Ms. Moore is charged with kidnapping, unlawful restraint, and interference with custody stemming from the incident the afternoon of Aug. 23, 2012.

According to police, Ms. Moore planned to steal a baby -- including buying hospital scrubs -- then went through several floors of Magee that day before taking a boy about to be discharged.

Police said Ms. Moore hid him inside a red zippered handbag and left the hospital. She went Downtown, police said, where she showed the baby off to friends and former co-workers. She was arrested within five hours and told police that someone had given the baby to her.

Mike Manko, a spokesman with the Allegheny County District Attorney's office, said the meeting to determine whether Ms. Moore could enter the program was held on Wednesday.

"We believe the seriousness of the crime did not merit such consideration," Mr. Manko said.

Mental health court provides defendants with an Axis 1 diagnosis a structured program, which includes a detailed service plan, along with regular court reviews. In addition to court services, the program also helps defendants find housing and jobs.

Simply because defendants request to enter the program does not mean they will be accepted.

To enter the program, prosecutors, Justice Related Services and Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge Beth Lazzara, who presides over the program, must agree.

Ms. Moore, who has an unknown Axis 1 diagnosis, spent time at Torrance State Hospital following her arrest.

Blaine Jones, who represents Ms. Moore, said he will continue to fight to get his client the best result.

"We have to check out all possible available and viable options," he said. "We have plans in place. We will regroup with Breona and figure out the best course of action."

He declined to talk about Ms. Moore's current mental state.


Paula Reed Ward: pward@post-gazette.com or 412-263-2620. Twitter: @PaulaReedWard. Liz Navratil contributed.


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