Saturday, June 21, 2008

Staten Island couple allegedly starved baby to death

Their 7-week-old baby weighed 2 pounds on the autopsy table.

Today, Joanne Fezza and Peter Mason denied starving tiny Matthew Mason to death, or providing a home that was described by police as "subhuman."

Ms. Fezza, 42, and Mason, 46, both of Oder Avenue, Concord, each pleaded not guilty to charges of second-degree manslaughter and endangering the welfare of a child. Matthew weighed 6 pounds at birth.

The charges also include neglecting their 5-year-old son by subjecting the boy to squalid conditions at the home.

Matthew was pronounced dead at Staten Island University Hospital, Ocean Breeze, after a relative found him unconscious inside the family's home in March.

An autopsy revealed the child died of acute bronchopneumonia resulting from starvation.

A five-count indictment filed Thursday charges that Ms. Fezza and Mason "recklessly caused the death of Matthew Mason by starving him."

Their 5-year-old, whose name was not released, is in the custody of the city Administration for Children's Services.

Prosecutors alleged that the couple also endangered the siblings "by failing to provide adequate food and living conditions ... [including] inadequate food in the home and unsanitary, filthy conditions in the kitchen and bathroom," according to a statement released by District Attorney Daniel Donovan.

Detectives who went to the home following Matthew's death described the conditions as "subhuman."

There was no food in the refrigerator, only a can of orange soda, one detective said at the time.

"The smell almost knocked you out," the cop said, adding that Ms. Fezza and Mason lived "like animals."

Baby Matthew reportedly lost weight after he was born Feb. 1 this year, sources said.

A detective who attended the autopsy at the city Chief Medical Examiner's Office described the infant as "incredibly emaciated."

ACS caseworkers discovered that the 5-year-old boy's teeth were rotted, the result f a junk-food diet, a cop source said.

Ms. Fezza and Mason spoke to an Advance photographer outside St. George Family Court the day after Matthew died.

Both cried and appeared remorseful, saying they were "100 percent innocent." They claimed the baby had been sick since they brought him home from the hospital.

Revealing a scar where he said his kidney had been removed and donated to a family member, Mason said, "I'm a good person."

Ms. Fezza and the bearded Mason appeared gaunt, scruffy and unkempt when detectives from the district attorney's office led them handcuffed into state Supreme Court, St. George, for their arraignments in front of Justice Leonard P. Rienzi shortly before noon.

Rienzi ordered each held on $500,000 bail. They are due to return to court July 2.

If convicted of the top count of second-degree manslaughter, Ms. Fezza and Mason would each face a maximum 15 years in prison.

Ms. Fezza is represented by public defender Carol Siegel. Mason's attorney is Eugene Lamb.

Assistant District Attorney Karen Varriale and Yolanda Rudich, bureau chief of the Sex Crimes/Special Victims Bureau, are prosecuting the case.

-- Contributed by Jeff Harrell

Link to Article-

Staten Island couple allegedly starved baby to death - Staten Island Real-Time News -

My two cents..

I know better than to believe everything I read..especially when it comes to CPS ..

So with that in mind..

This should be an interesting story to follow...

And I will do just that..

If anyone out on Staten Island has first hand knowledge of this story and it's truth or it's lack of truth...

Feel free to comment.


Parents plead not guilty to starving NYC baby

NEW YORK (AP) — A couple was being held Saturday on $500,000 bond after pleading not guilty to starving their 7-week-old son to death in a squalid home.

Matthew Mason weighed just 2 pounds when he was found dead on Easter Sunday in his Staten Island home, authorities said.

Joanne Fezza and Peter Mason kept little food on hand and subjected Matthew and his 5-year-old brother to "unsanitary, filthy conditions in the kitchen and bathroom," according to an indictment filed Thursday. Medical examiners concluded the infant had died of starvation.

Fezza, 42, and Mason, 46, were arraigned Friday on manslaughter and child endangerment charges. If convicted, they could face up to 15 years in prison.

Their attorneys didn't immediately return telephone calls Saturday, and the couple has no listed telephone number. Fezza's brother said birth defects kept Matthew from flourishing.

"They're trying to charge her for starving it, but its insides were underdeveloped so nutrients couldn't get into it," Ronald Fezza said. "She was feeding him."

Fezza and Mason are due back in court July 2. The city Administration for Children's Services has taken custody of their elder son.

Link -

Parents plead not guilty to starving NYC baby - NewsFlash -

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