Amsterdam native accused of killing newborn in Louisiana

Thursday, May 29, 2014
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Franklin D. Finney Jr.
Franklin D. Finney Jr.

— Louisiana police say an Amsterdam, N.Y., native has admitted he smothered his newborn daughter to death.

Franklin D. Finney Jr., 23, who moved to Louisiana in 2012, admitted to police in the city of Walker that he placed his hand over 3-week-old Raelynn Finney’s face April 19 because she was crying, Walker Police Capt. John Sharp told The Daily Gazette Wednesday.

“He took the child to the bedroom to put her down for a nap and, according to him, the child continued to be inconsolable,” Sharp recounted of Finney’s statement. “He put his hand on her mouth and she stopped crying.”

A short time later, the baby’s mother came into the room and discovered the baby unresponsive. They called 911.

Sharp said Raelynn remained on life support for more than three weeks. With no signs of improvement or brain activity, the baby was taken off life support and died May 13.

Finney was arrested two days later on one count of manslaughter. If convicted, he faces 10 to 40 years in state prison, Sharp said.

According to police, Finney is a native of Amsterdam. He relocated to Walker in 2012, moved in with an aunt, and met local native Kayla Depoy, with whom he later had Raelynn.

He made the news in 2007 in Amsterdam, where he and two other teens were accused of vandalizing the old Kellogg & Miller plant on Church Street. Finney, then 17, was accused of destroying historic items inside the building and spray-painting graffiti inside, newspaper records show. The outcome of that case was unavailable Wednesday.

The series of events that led to the baby’s death in Louisiana began at a party Finney and Depoy attended April 19, Sharp said. They left and the baby was fussy. After they returned home, Finney put her to bed and allegedly covered her mouth.

Police began investigating Finney after relatives recalled seeing him put his hand over the baby’s face previously. After about an hour of questioning, Sharp said, Finney confessed.

“He seemed very remorseful,” Sharp said, “but at the end of the day, we’ve got a 7-week-old child who is no longer with us. Whether it was an act of negligence or of deliberate intent, that’s something for a jury to decide.”

Finney remains in custody in Louisiana in lieu of $75,000 bail.

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