Woman Accused In Deaths Of Children More Than 30 Years Ago

WARREN, Ohio (AP) - Authorities charged a woman with killing three of her babies between February 1969 and March 1971 after receiving a tip about the deaths from her surviving child.

Gloria Greenfield, formerly Gloria Jean Woods, pleaded innocent Monday to three counts of murder and two counts of assault with intent to kill. The murder charges carry penalties of 15 years to life; the assault charges carry penalties of one to 15 years.

Greenfield, 52, of Niles, was being held Tuesday on $100,000 bond set by Common Pleas Judge Wyatt McKay after prosecutors recommended $1 million bond. A trial date was not set.

The assault charges stem from alleged attacks on Greenfield's daughter, Gloria Bennight, when she was 44 days old in April 1972 and when she was 80 days old.

Trumbull County Prosecutor Dennis Watkins would not comment Tuesday about the tip that came from Bennight, 29, of Warren, saying it was possible trial evidence.

Defense attorney Anthony Consoldane said ill feelings developed between mother and daughter over the years, prompting the allegations.

The indictment was sealed until Monday even though Greenfield was arrested without incident Friday afternoon.

Watkins said sudden infant death syndrome was originally ruled the cause of death for three of Greenfield's children. But that was changed after an investigation by forensic pathologist Dr. Humphrey Germaniuk who reviewed medical records and autopsy slides.

Germaniuk determined Theodore Woods, 17 days old, and Regina Woods, 15 days old, died of asphyxia. He said the cause of death for Melissa Woods, 28 days old, was undetermined.

All three children are considered to be murder victims, according to indictments.

Greenfield was not charged in the death of another child, Joseph Woods, who died in 1967 of pneumonia at the age of two months.

Public defender James Lewis said Tuesday he expected to file a motion to dismiss the assault with intent to kill counts since a seven-year statute of limitations has run out.

Prosecutors said they will argue that the statute of limitations should not begin until authorities are aware that a crime has been committed.

(Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)