Freeman’s Preliminary Hearing Postponed As Questions Abound

SNOW HILL – A scheduled preliminary hearing in Ocean City District Court on Monday for accused murderer Christy Freeman, the local woman charged earlier this month with the death of her newborn son, a twin, in 2004, was postponed yesterday and had not been rescheduled as of press time, leading to even more speculation about the course of the investigation and prosecution of the case.

Freeman, 37, of Ocean City, was charged earlier this month with first-degree murder of her newborn son, a twin, in 2004. The charges were filed after investigators discovered her recently-delivered stillborn fetus wrapped in a towel under the bathroom sink in her Ocean City home on July 27. The investigation led to the discovery of three more fetuses in and around her home including two, dating back to 2004, wrapped in plastic bags at the bottom of a trunk in her bedroom, and a fourth similarly wrapped fetus found in a recreational vehicle parked in the driveway of the home.

During the chaotic early days in the case, which attracted a furor of national media attention, Freeman admitted one the fetuses found in the trunk was the first of two twins she delivered in 2004, which she allowed to die in the toilet. The admission led state prosecutors to drop the charges against her for the death of her most recent child in late July and apply first-degree murder charges against her for the death of her full-term or near full-term infant in 2004.

In sharp contrast to the first few days when information about the case flowed freely, very little new information has been released over the last few weeks. The Freeman case appears to hinge, in large part, on the state medical examiner’s final findings on the four fetuses found in and around the Freeman home in late July.

Those findings have either not been completed or have not been made public. The postponement of the preliminary hearing scheduled for Monday in District Court reportedly came at the request of the State’s Attorney’s Office and could be tied to the release of the medical examiner’s report.

In the meantime, reliable sources close to the Freeman case have indicated the Ocean City businesswoman was indicted by a Worcester County grand jury last week. Grand jury deliberations are private and concealed by authorities, but insiders close to the case have indicated the grand jury was convened early last week to hear testimony from police investigators as well as Freeman’s children.

Worcester County State’s Attorney Joel Todd assured The Dispatch this week no indictment had been handed down as of yet. When asked specifically if there was a sealed indictment pending the result of the medical examiner’s report, Todd said there was not. Although the veteran prosecutor was guarded when speaking to a reporter this week, Todd was quoted as saying, “I have not asked for an indictment [in this case] and therefore no indictment has been issued.”

Authorities have said no new information will be released to the press until the result of the medical examiner’s report is released on the fetuses found in and around Freeman’s Sunset Drive home. Until the findings of the report are released or made public, more questions than answers persist in this case.

For example, will Freeman’s confession, given while in custody within hours of the birth of her latest stillborn fetus, withstand a legal challenge? She told OCPD Detective Vicki Martin she gave birth to a full-term or near-full term child, a twin, sometime in 2004 and let it die in the toilet, and she also told the detective she was admitting it because

“I am doing it for my kids, so you will leave them alone,” she said according to charging documents.

Another question bandied about in the legal community is whether Freeman’s private attorney was illegally denied the right to speak to her prior to her initial bail hearing in Ocean City on July 30. Local attorney Frank Benvenuto, who is apparently no longer involved in the case, complained openly in District Court that day he had not had the opportunity to speak to Freeman prior to the bail hearing.

There are still more questions than answers in the case as it moves from the investigative phase to the prosecution phase and most seem to hinge on the medical examiner’s findings. For example, who impregnated Freeman and do all of the fetuses belong to her? How long had they been stored in and around the Freeman home and how far along in the pregnancies were they when they were terminated or deliberately killed?

Also under consideration is whether or not the medical examiner’s report will be conclusive. The medical examiner’s office did rule early on the remains of Twin One, as the fetus allegedly killed by Freeman in 2004 is called in charging documents, was consistent with that of a full term or near-full term infant, but questions remain about the other twin and the remains of the fetus found in the recreational vehicle.

As of yesterday, a new date for a preliminary hearing in the case had not been announced. When the medical examiner’s findings are released and the case begins to make its way through the legal process, many of the unanswered questions will likely be clarified, but for the time being, more is uncertain about the case than is known.