A woman who police say kidnapped a 3-day-old baby from Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC last year has asked permission to have her case transferred to mental health court.
Breona Moore, 21, of East McKeesport was scheduled to go on trial before Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge Randal B. Todd on Wednesday, but her defense attorney asked for a postponement while her case is considered for the specialized court.
Ms. Moore has an Axis I mental health disorder, defense attorney Nicole Nino said, and Justice-Related Services has said that qualifies her to have her case transferred. She did not say what her client's diagnosis is, but added that Ms. Moore has spent time in Torrance State Hospital since her arrest.
The next step in the process will be for prosecutors to meet with JRS and Judge Beth Lazzara, to review whether the case qualifies for mental health court, said Mike Manko, a spokesman with the DA's office.
"We have a set of protocols which we use to determine what cases qualify for mental health court," Mr. Manko said. "Those protocols will be discussed with respect to this defendant at the next mental health court referral meeting."
Ms. Moore is charged with kidnapping, unlawful restraint and interference with custody.
According to police, Ms. Moore entered Magee the afternoon of Aug. 23, 2012, with a calculated plan to steal a baby.
She went through several floors before taking a 3-day-old boy who was just about to be released, police said.
She hid him in a red zippered handbag and left the hospital, police said. Ms. Moore took a bus to Downtown, where police said she showed him off to friends and former co-workers. She was arrested within five hours and told police "someone gave the baby to me."
Investigators say she cased several local hospitals and purchased hospital scrubs to pass herself off as a nurse before executing her plan.
Mental health court provides defendants who have mental illness a structured program, including a detailed service plan and guidelines for treatment. There are regular reviews with the court, and services including helping defendants find housing and jobs.
A referral to the program does not necessarily mean a defendant will be accepted.
Paula Reed Ward: firstname.lastname@example.org, 412-263-2620 or on Twitter @PaulaReedWard.