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December 17, 2016

Allentown mother pleads guilty to pushing son off bridge

Prosecutors reach plea deal due to woman's mental health issues

Courts Sentencing
06252015_Gavel Brian Turner/Wikimedia Commons


A Pennsylvania woman pled guilty Friday to the third-degree murder of her young child by pushing him off a bridge.

Johnesha Perry, 21, admitted to shoving her 20-month-old son Zymeir off the Hamilton Street Bridge in Allentown into the Lehigh River before jumping off the bridge herself in May 2015.

Police rescued Perry and her son Zymeir from the river, but the boy later died of blunt force trauma and drowning.

Perry was sentenced to 20-40 years in state prison as part of a plea agreement.

Prosecutors extended the plea deal with Perry because of her "real mental health issues," the Lehigh County District Attorney's Office said in a release.

Prosecutor Matthew Falk said that while her mental issue health issues and low IQ did not absolve Perry of the "monstrous" act, they did require them to offer a plea in "fairness."

Perry's rough childhood was detailed in court. The defense outlined how Perry's mother drank heavily while pregnant with her and allowed a series of men, including Perry's biological brother, to sexually abuse and molest her.

Judge Branch commended the prosecutors for reaching the plea instead of going to trial.