Possible Charges – Can Trista Reynolds and Justin DiPietro live with these?

by Grace4Ayla on May 2, 2013

The latest talk on the Ayla Reynolds blogs is about lesser charges and plea deals. They are assuming that the only people who will be arrested are the ones associated with Waterville. Is this another attempt by Jeff Hanson to communicate with Justin DiPietro via the blogs?

The aforementioned lesser charges post discussed issues more related to accomplices (obstruction of justice, etc.) than the actual perpetrators, however. The plea bargaining post came across more like a how-to, providing the pros and cons, including an assurance that “the maternal family would agree to it.”

But what charges would Trista Reynolds, Justin DiPietro and Derek Tudela be facing in order to plea bargain down from? Let’s take a look.

Maine Statutes

§202. Felony murder

1.    A person is guilty of felony murder if acting alone or with one or more other persons in the commission of, or an attempt to commit, or immediate flight after committing or attempting to commit, murder, robbery, burglary, kidnapping, arson, gross sexual assault, or escape, the person or another participant in fact causes the death of a human being, and the death is a reasonably foreseeable consequence of such commission, attempt or flight.
[ 1991, c. 377, §8 (AMD) .]
2.    It is an affirmative defense to prosecution under this section that the defendant:
A. Did not commit the homicidal act or in any way solicit, command, induce, procure or aid the commission thereof; [1977, c. 510, §39 (RPR).]
B. Was not armed with a dangerous weapon, or other weapon which under circumstances indicated a readiness to inflict serious bodily injury; [1977, c. 510, §39 (RPR).]
C. Reasonably believed that no other participant was armed with such a weapon; and [1977, c. 510, §39 (RPR).]
D. Reasonably believed that no other participant intended to engage in conduct likely to result in death or serious bodily injury. [1977, c. 510, §39 (RPR).]
[ 1977, c. 510, §39 (RPR) .]
3.    Felony murder is a Class A crime.

If Trista Reynolds and Derek Tudela conspired with Justin DiPietro to murder Ayla Bell Reynolds for the life insurance proceeds they will be charged with felony murder. Even though Justin did not try to claim an accident and cash in on the policy, if it is determined that he did, in fact, kill Ayla, the above statute will apply to all three.

If Phoebe DiPietro, Elisha DiPietro, Courtney Roberts, or anyone else had knowledge of the plot prior to Ayla’s death, they could be charged with this as well.

Now, if I were the prosecutor, and I had a choice between the man who sold the policy knowing a child would be murdered, the mother who handed over the child along with her social security number, the monster who murdered her or the family members who knew but did nothing to stop it, I’d be apt to give a lesser charge to the family member in exchange for testimony. But allow the first three to plea to a lesser charge just to avoid a trial if I have physical evidence (which we know they do) and a witness? It doesn’t make sense to do that.

This is the punishment those three deserve:

§1251. Imprisonment for murder

A person convicted of the crime of murder shall be sentenced to imprisonment for life or for any term of years that is not less than 25. The sentence of the court shall specify the length of the sentence to be served and shall commit the person to the Department of Corrections. [1983, c. 673, §3 (RPR).]

In setting the length of imprisonment, if the victim is a child who had not in fact attained the age of 6 years at the time the crime was committed or if the victim is a woman that the convicted person knew or had reasonable cause to believe to be in fact pregnant at the time the crime was committed, a court shall assign special weight to this objective fact in determining the basic sentence in the first step of the sentencing process. The court shall assign special weight to any subjective victim impact in determining the final sentence in the 2nd and final step in the sentencing process. Nothing in this paragraph may be construed to restrict a court in setting the length of imprisonment from considering the age of the victim in other circumstances when relevant. [2005, c. 88, Pt. B, §1 (AMD).]


1975, c. 499, §1 (NEW). 1975, c. 740, §§114,115 (AMD). 1977, c. 510, §74 (RPR). 1983, c. 581, §3 (RPR). 1983, c. 673, §3 (RPR). 1999, c. 536,§1 (AMD). 2005, c. 88, §B1 (AMD).
I don’t believe the fine citizens of Maine, after finding out what really happened to Ayla Bell Reynolds will be able to live with anything less.

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