Fayette Mother of Slain Infant Gets Deal

Article excerpt

A Fayette County woman accused of helping to kill her newborn eight years ago is expected to enter a guilty plea to third-degree homicide in exchange for her cooperation in the prosecution of a co- defendant, her former brother-in-law.

In addition, Sarah Sue Hawk, 25, of North Union, has been granted bail, but she remains in the Fayette County Prison after failing to post it.

Hawk and Warren Ernest Bircher, 33, of Adah, German Township, each are charged by state police in Uniontown with criminal homicide, criminal conspiracy and concealing the death of a child.

Hawk was 16 when she delivered the baby in a yard behind Bircher's mobile home, according to a police affidavit. Bircher immediately placed the child in plastic bags, a flannel shirt and a backpack before dropping her in a creek in North Union.

The infant came to be known as "Baby Mary" after her remains were discovered June 4, 2000, in Cove Run Creek, off Yauger Hollow Road, in North Union. The case went cold until November, when police tied Hawk to the infant with the use of new technology that specifically considers maternal DNA.

Bircher was charged last month after Hawk implicated him during a jailhouse interview with prosecutors. According to a police affidavit, Hawk told investigators she was having sex in 2000 with Bircher, who was her brother-in-law at the time. She told troopers she advised Bircher she might be pregnant to a "black boy," but Bircher feared the child was his and told her he planned to leave the newborn in a creek.

Hawk told police that Bircher felt that his wife at the time, Kristie, would "hate him" if the child was his. Bircher allegedly told Hawk that if the child were black, her father would not accept it, according to the affidavit. Both defendants are white.

The Birchers have since divorced. …