Starved infants' father to go to trial

He rejects third plea deal in twins' death

May 13, 2006|By JULIE BYKOWICZ | JULIE BYKOWICZ,SUN REPORTER

The father of twin baby girls who were starved to death during their brief lives in a derelict rowhouse basement rejected a third plea deal yesterday and is now scheduled to stand trial in August.

Nathaniel Broadway, 26, is charged with two counts of child abuse resulting in death and two counts of second-degree murder in the May 2004 deaths of his month-old daughters, Emonney and Emunnea.

The girls' mother, Sierra Swann,19, pleaded guilty in February to two counts of child abuse resulting in death and could face up to 20 years when she is sentenced. As part of her plea deal, she agreed to testify at Broadway's trial.

Broadway's attorney, Jeffrey G. Kinstler, said Swann "bought off a life sentence in the deaths of her children" by agreeing to testify. Kinstler said Swann's story has changed several times and that she cannot be trusted.

If convicted of all four charges, Broadway could be sentenced to 120 years in prison.

Three times, including yesterday, prosecutors extended plea deals to Broadway. Had he accepted the latest deal, he would have served no more than 30 years in prison.

Broadway indicated to his attorney that he would accept the deal, but in Circuit Judge Allen L. Schwait's courtroom this morning, he changed his mind.

Kinstler told Schwait his client was rejecting the deal because he does not believe prosecutors have enough evidence to convict him.

Assistant State's Attorney Julie Drake responded, "For the record, the plea offer is withdrawn and will not be re-extended."

Outside the courtroom, Drake said she was "not interested in wasting any more of the court's time" and would proceed to trial rather than try to work out another arrangement with Broadway.

"We're done with the games," she said. "It's time to get serious now."

Kinstler said Broadway ultimately was not comfortable with any of the plea offers because "he has maintained that he did his best as a father."

"He says he was as good a father as he could be," Kinstler said.

The severely malnourished twins also showed signs of abuse when they died May 11, 2004. They had been living with their parents in the basement of a vacant rowhouse in Northeast Baltimore that lacked the most basic of necessities, including electricity and heat.

The deplorable conditions in which the twins lived and the manner in which they died outraged the city.

Swann, who was 17 when she gave birth, had a history of neglecting and abusing her first child, and Johns Hopkins Hospital workers noted that Broadway struck Swann in her hospital room shortly after she delivered the babies.

Still, the couple left with the twins - something that Drake said at Swann's guilty-plea hearing never should have been allowed.

julie.bykowicz@baltsun.com

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