MOUNT HOLLY, N.J. (AP) — A New Jersey woman who set her newborn on fire and left her in the middle of a street was sentenced Friday to 30 years in prison.
Hyphernkemberly Dorvilier pleaded guilty in February to aggravated manslaughter and prosecutors recommended the sentence.
The 23-year-old Pemberton Township woman doused her newborn with accelerant and set her on fire in January 2015, investigators said. The baby had third-degree burns over 60 percent of her body and died two hours after she was flown to a Philadelphia hospital.
“I was on a downward spiral. I believe I hit my rock bottom,” Dorvilier, handcuffed and shackled, said in court Friday. “I apologize first and foremost for not giving my daughter, Angelica, the life she deserved. She deserved so much better.”
Prosecutors say she hid her pregnancy from her mother and sister. Investigators say the baby was found with her umbilical cord and placenta attached.
Police responded to a call about a fire on a road in the township, 30 miles east of Philadelphia. When they arrived, they found a neighbor holding Dorvilier down on the ground and the baby wrapped in a smoldering towel and paper, according to the court documents.
Dorvilier was found with a can of WD-40 and a lighter in her jacket pocket, investigators said.
Dorvilier’s sister, Dejennie, pleaded with Judge Terrence Cook for leniency, saying that Dorvilier needs help. But the judge said the punishment was “the sentence that justice requires.”
“The crime in this case was committed against the weakest of the weak, a helpless newborn,” Cook said. “All she knew was the extreme excruciating pain of being set on fire by her mother, the person who was supposed to love and protect her.”
An autopsy found the baby died from smoke inhalation and burns.
“This was an atrocious act, and one that was entirely preventable given our state’s law that allows someone to anonymously give up an unwanted infant,” said Burlington County Prosecutor Robert Bernardi.