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Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Cutting a baby from a pregnant teenager, killing her, and passing the baby off as her own
Number of victims: 1
Date of murder: July 15, 2008
Date of arrest: 3 days later
Date of birth: July 28, 1969
Victim profile: Kia Johnson, 18
Method of murder: Combination of blood loss and suffocation
Location: Wilkinsburg, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, USA
Status: Sentenced to life in prison without parole on May 17, 2010

Andrea Curry-Demus Gets Life for Cutting Baby from 18-Year-Old's Womb

By Edecio Martinez -

May 18, 2010

PITTSBURGH (CBS/KDKA/AP) Andrea Curry-Demus will spend the rest of her life in jail for luring a pregnant teen to her apartment, drugging her, killing her, and cutting the child from the womb so she could pass it off as her own.

The penalty was largely determined in March when Allegheny County Judge Jeffrey Manning found her guilty of second-degree murder, but also mentally ill.

That carries the mandatory life sentence imposed formally on Monday, and Manning tacked on 20 years for kidnapping, saying, "It would be a huge injustice if you were ever released into society."

At her sentencing, Curry Demus briefly turned around and faced the family of her 18-year-old victim Kia Johnson.

"I want to apologize to the family," the 40-year-old said, before facing the judge and saying, "I'm sorry."

Johnson's mother, Darlene Lee, said she was satisfied with the life sentence.

"I don't want her to have the death penalty. I want her to suffer, I really do," Lee said. "I want her to suffer and think about what she did to my daughter and see my daughter's face every day that she wakes up."

Curry-Demus met Johnson at the Allegheny County Jail in July 2008 while both were visiting inmates, prosecutors said. Curry-Demus had been telling her family she was pregnant, even putting her name on another woman's ultrasound that she showed people and decorating a nursery.

Curry-Demus eventually befriended Johnson by offering her clothes for her unborn son and a ride home from the jail on July 15, 2008. But Curry-Demus got Johnson to her own Wilkinsburg apartment, drugged her, bound her with duct tape and cut the baby from her.

Curry-Demus wrapped Johnson's body in more tape, plastic wrap and bags and a comforter before stuffing it in a space behind the bed. Johnson died of a combination of blood loss and suffocation, prosecutors said.

Curry-Demus then told her sister that she gave birth, but hospital tests showed she wasn't the mother. Curry-Demus then told police she bought the baby from a crack addict, but police found Johnson's body after Curry-Demus' neighbors reported the stench of decomposition.

Curry-Demus had been sentenced to three to 10 years in prison in a similar plot two decades ago. In May 1990, she stabbed a woman in an apparent plot to steal her newborn and the next day kidnapped another baby from a hospital. She pleaded guilty in January 1991 to kidnapping, aggravated assault, concealing the whereabouts of a child and related offenses.


Crime scene details emerge at Curry-Demus trial

By Eric Slagle -

Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2010

As prosecutors present their case against homicide suspect Andrea Curry-Demus, details of a bloody crime scene emerge.

The non-jury trial for Curry-Demus, 40, of Wilkinsburg, got under way Monday with Demus' mother, doctor, police officers and an EMS paramedic all taking the stand.

Curry-Demus is accused of killing Kia Johnson, 18, of McKeesport, in July 2008 and cutting Johnson's unborn baby from her womb. Johnson's partially decomposed body was recovered in Demus' apartment in Wilkinsburg several days after she was seen leaving the Allegheny County Jail with Curry-Demus, where the two are believed to have met while visiting their incarcerated boyfriends.

Photographic and physical evidence from the crime scene was presented toward the end of Monday afternoon as Deputy District Attorney Mark V. Tranquilli questioned Allegheny County Homicide Detective Timothy Langan about his investigation of the murder.

Tranquilli presented items to the court that were recovered from the apartment. They included three bloody knives, a roll of plastic kitchen wrap and a bloodstained roll of duct tape. Also submitted were blue jeans that belonged to Johnson that were found stuffed in Curry-Demus' hamper with duct tape around one of the ankle cuffs. Photographic evidence included items as they were found in Demus' apartment, bloody pillows and bedding and a bloodstained bathroom.

Most disturbing of all was a photo of Johnson as she was found by police, wrapped in bedding and plastic bags and stuffed in a hollow space behind the headboard of Demus' bed and her bedroom wall.

The prosecution said Curry-Demus should not be excused from a first-degree murder charge because she has mental health issues.

"The defendant was not mentally insane. She knew what she was doing was wrong," Tranquilli argued in his opening statement. The prosecutor noted an incident in 1990 in which Curry-Demus stabbed a pregnant woman and kidnapped another woman's baby from a local hospital. He said because of that incident and the resulting prison term, "She knew she could not leave Kia Johnson alive."

Arguing that Curry-Demus also is not mentally deficient, Tranquilli said the case he will present will prove "she had been carefully constructing this web, much like a spider" for weeks in advance.

Tranquilli told Allegheny County Judge Jeffrey A. Manning he will ask that the judge find her "guilty but mentally ill."

Demus' attorney Christopher Patarini told the court his client is not guilty by reason of insanity and said he would present information from mental health experts indicating "she was operating under severe psychosis when she cut the baby from the womb."

Patarini described the defendant as a woman who'd suffered from delusions and other mental disorders for years.

One of the main delusions Curry-Demus is described as suffering was that she believed she experienced a number of pregnancies and miscarriages.

Her physician, Dr. Karen Valazquez, told the court she'd seen Curry-Demus regularly over the course of nine years and that to her knowledge, Curry-Demus had never been pregnant or miscarried. The doctor said she wasn't aware Curry-Demus suffered from mental issues and that her patient hadn't suffered from any reproductive disorders.

In November 2007, the doctor said Curry-Demus had taken a urine test to see if she was pregnant. When the test came back positive, Valazquez said she'd informed Curry-Demus but also said such tests sometimes give false readings and that an additional blood test would have to be administered to be sure. The blood test was given and it turned out Curry-Demus was not pregnant, the doctor said.

A staff member called Curry-Demus and told her she was not pregnant.

Curry-Demus apparently never told family members about the second, negative test.

The defendant's mother Sharon Curry, 57, of Wilkinsburg, said she and others were with her daughter at home when a phone call about the positive urine test came in.

"Will you tell my mom?" Curry reported her daughter had asked a moment before handing her the phone. Curry, under questioning, couldn't remember the doctor's name, but said she heard the doctor clearly say that Curry-Demus was pregnant.

Curry said her daughter's due date was the end of June and that family members immediately began planning a baby shower. From that point on, Curry said, all conversations with her daughter had to do with her pregnancy. At one point, Curry-Demus even showed her family members an ultrasound picture of a baby that she claimed was hers.

"We rubbed her belly," the mother said. "Her eyes were lit up."

"I was on cloud nine," Curry said, describing her reaction to hearing her daughter was going to become a mother. "I was very, very happy."

Curry-Demus told her mother that doctors planned to induce labor at the end of June. When the date for inducement passed, Curry said her daughter told her "something was wrong."

On July 15, Curry said she'd just started her 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. nurses aide job at UPMC Montefiore Hospital when her daughter called and said she was having contractions. Curry left work early and went straight to her daughter's apartment, which is only a few blocks from her own along Ella Street, to check on her well-being.

Curry said she, Curry-Demus and her other daughter Brooke Curry and another woman stayed part of the night. Curry said she didn't notice anything was amiss and left around 11 p.m. with her daughter walking her back to her home a few blocks away.

Curry said she went to bed for the night. Curry-Demus called her the next morning to tell her she'd delivered. Curry went to her apartment and noticed that both of her daughters had blood on them and there was blood in the bathroom. Curry said she told them to call 911 right away and that Brooke Curry said she already had and no ambulance crew had responded. The mother said she then called 911.

Curry said she saw the baby, which had not been cleaned after birth, on the couch with Curry-Demus in the apartment. When asked by the prosecutor how the baby looked, Curry said, "Beautiful."

Curry-Demus was transported to West Penn Hospital where she continued to claim the baby was hers, though she would not let doctors examine her.

Hospital staff later told Curry that her daughter hadn't given birth.

Curry said when she asked her daughter what was going on, she told her, "Mom, I bought a baby."

Curry-Demus also told authorities that she bought the baby for $1,000 from a young black woman named Tina known to frequent the Wilkinsburg and Homewood areas. She then changed the story to implicate other individuals in a baby-snatching plot.

When questioned whether she believed that her daughter had bought the baby, Curry answered softly, "I don't know."

Neither the mother, nor the sister Brooke Curry, who testified at a mental competency hearing for her sister last year, has admitted to looking inside Curry-Demus' bedroom before Johnson's body was found. A responding EMS crew also overlooked the bedroom.

Tranquilli said that Johnson was alive and restrained inside Demus' bedroom the night of July 15. He alleges Curry-Demus harvested the baby before wrapping Johnson in duct tape to suffocate her.

Johnson's baby, Terrell Kian Barnes, survived the attack and is now in the custody of the Johnson family.


Trial opens in murder, kidnapping from womb case

January 12, 2010

A woman accused of cutting a baby from a pregnant teenager, killing her, and passing the baby off as her own, had not been pregnant, even though she told her family she was, according to a prosecutor and her doctor.

Andrea Curry-Demus, 40, put her name on an ultrasound picture of a fetus and gave it to her mother, who threw a baby shower for her.

Her mother, Sharon Curry, testified at her daughter’s trial on homicide and kidnapping charges Monday that she was excited at learning she would be a grandmother for the first time in late fall 2007.

“I was on cloud nine,” she testified. “I was very, very happy.”

But while a doctor told Curry-Demus, of Wilkinsburg, a Pittsburgh suburb, that she may be pregnant based on a urine test, a blood test showed she was not. Dr. Karen Velazquez testified Curry-Demus was not pregnant.

While Curry-Demus held herself out to be pregnant, she plotted to get a baby, according to prosecutor Mark Tranquilli.

That happened when she met and befriended Kia Johnson, 18, of McKeesport, at the Allegheny County Jail, in July 2008. Johnson was visiting her unborn son’s father and Curry-Demus was visiting her husband. Curry-Demus lured Johnson to her apartment to steal the baby, Tranquilli said.

Johnson’s body — bound with duct tape and wrapped in plastic wrap and a comforter — was found stuffed behind a headboard. The baby, Terrell Kian Johnson, survived and is living with relatives.

Johnson’s mother and father were in court, her mother wiping back tears, but had to leave when Tranquilli described how Johnson was found.

After hiding Johnson’s body, Curry-Demus told her mother and sister that she gave birth in her bathroom. When hospital tests showed she did not give birth, Curry-Demus told police that she bought the baby for $1,000 from a young woman she knew as Tina, according to testimony.

Curry-Demus said she bought Tina clothes “because of the kindness of my heart,” according to her taped confession played in court.

Investigators eventually found Johnson’s body after initially being misled by Curry-Demus’ sister, Brooke Curry, who had shown them her own apartment and told them it was that of Curry-Demus. The sisters lived in different apartments in the apartment building.

Tranquilli said Brooke Curry had nothing to do with Johnson’s death and lied to help her sister, not knowing the truth. Brooke Curry is expected to testify Tuesday.

Defense attorney Christopher Patarini will try to convince an Allegheny County judge that Curry-Demus is not guilty by reason of insanity. She chose last week to have Judge Jeffrey Manning decide her case rather than a jury.

Patarini told Manning that Curry-Demus has a history of mental problems and that a defense psychiatrist will testify that she was preoccupied with delusions of being pregnant. Curry-Demus had a “break with reality,” he said, and how she went about getting a baby was consistent with her severe psychosis.

Tranquilli acknowledged that Curry-Demus has mental problems but said he would show that she knew what she was doing was wrong.

He said Curry-Demus sliced the baby from Johnson while she was still alive and that Johnson died of combination of blood loss and suffocation. Curry-Demus wrapped Johnson’s head in plastic and duct tape, which showed she intended to kill her, he said.

Curry-Demus had served about eight years in prison for kidnapping another woman’s baby in May 1990. Because that woman had testified against Curry-Demus, “She knew she could not leave Kia Johnson alive,” Tranquilli said.

He told Manning that the proper verdict would be guilty of first- or second-degree murder, but mentally ill. That would mean Curry-Demus would undergo mental health treatment and serve her life-sentence in either a mental facility or prison.


Woman charged in death of eviscerated pregnant teen

July 20, 2008

PITTSBURGH, Pennsylvania (CNN) -- A Pennsylvania woman has been charged in the slaying of an 18-year-old woman who was found with her uterus cut open and her fetus removed, authorities said Sunday.

Andrea Curry-Demus, 38, of Wilkinsburg was charged Sunday with criminal homicide kidnapping and unlawful restraint in connection with last week's death of Kia Johnson, Allegheny County police Superintendent Charles Moffatt said.

Police found Johnson's body in Curry-Demus' apartment Friday, two days after Curry-Demus arrived at a hospital with a newborn and falsely claimed that the baby was hers, authorities said. Police have not confirmed whether the infant belonged to Johnson, whose family reported her missing last week.

Johnson's eviscerated body -- which police said they found after receiving calls about a foul odor coming from the apartment -- "was in a state of moderate decomposition," and she had been dead about two days, Medical Examiner Karl Williams said. The cause of death hasn't been determined, he said.

The woman's hands and feet were bound by duct tape, police said. A placenta was found at the scene, Williams told reporters.

Authorities said they used dental records to confirm Johnson's identity.

Drugs were found at the apartment, and authorities are awaiting toxicology results to determine whether she was sedated, Williams said. It's unclear whether Johnson was alive when her infant was taken, he added.

Wilkinsburg Police Chief Ophelia Coleman said Johnson's body was not found earlier because Curry-Demus' sister led investigators to another apartment. The sister has not been charged, Coleman said.

Police said Curry-Demus arrived by ambulance at a local hospital with a newborn boy Wednesday, claiming that she had just given birth. Hospital personnel determined that she hadn't given birth, so they contacted police, authorities said.

According to a criminal complaint, Curry-Demus told Detective Rich Grande that she purchased the baby from a woman named Tina for $1,000. Curry-Demus told Grande she had suffered a miscarriage in June and "did not want her mother to get upset," according to the complaint.

According to the complaint, Curry-Demus said Tina showed up with her newborn wrapped in a towel and left. Curry-Demus said she called medics because the baby was still "dirty from birth," the complaint said.

The baby is in good condition, a hospital spokeswoman said, and will be released to child welfare workers when he is ready.

Criminal homicide is a broad charge that covers a variety of murder or manslaughter counts, said Mike Manko, a spokesman for the Allegheny County district attorney's office. More specific charges could be brought as the case moves through the courts, Manko said.

"At some point after a case is held for court, then the general charge of criminal homicide will be made more specific," he said.

Curry-Demus was charged Thursday with endangering the welfare of a child, a felony, and dealing in infant children, a misdemeanor, after she brought the newborn to the hospital, authorities said.

Moffatt said investigators don't know how long Curry-Demus and Johnson knew each other. Investigators have reason to believe that the two recently were visiting inmates at the Allegheny County Jail at the same time.

"We don't know if they met there," Moffatt said.

Friends and relatives said Curry-Demus had told them she was pregnant for months, even having a baby shower.

"I went to the baby shower and her wedding," Ivee Blunt said. "I had no idea something like this could happen. I'm totally shocked. And she was so nice and kind. It's just unbelievable."

But sister-in-law Stephanie Epps said Curry-Demus would never allow her to touch her stomach.

"Pregnant women do things like that," Epps said. "They're happy because they're pregnant. But she would never do none of that."

Being led out of the Wilkinsburg Police Department, Curry-Demus told reporters, "I didn't do nothing," according to WTAE.

According to court records obtained by the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Curry-Demus became pregnant at 12 and miscarried four months later. She had a second miscarriage in 1990, when she was 21, the paper said.

Only a few months after the second miscarriage, Curry-Demus befriended a woman who had just given birth but later attacked her with a knife and tried to steal the baby, the paper said, citing the court records. The woman's husband intervened, the newspaper reported, and she fled.

The next day, she went to a hospital and befriended a woman who had brought her 3-week-old daughter to the hospital to be treated for meningitis, the Tribune-Review said. When the woman went home for the night, Curry-Demus left the hospital with the baby. It was found at her home, unharmed, the following day.

In 1991, according to the records, she pleaded guilty to various charges stemming from both incidents and was sentenced to three to 10 years in prison, the newspaper reported. She was paroled in August 1998 and ordered to serve 10 years of probation, the paper said.

The newspaper reported, citing court records, that Curry-Demus was examined by psychiatrists at the Allegheny County Jail before her sentencing and was diagnosed with severe depression, personality disorders and auditory hallucinations. She told doctors she spent a lot of time thinking about her miscarriages and "kept hearing babies cry," the Tribune-Review said.

Wilkinsburg is just east of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

This year, a Kansas woman was sentenced to death in the 2004 killing of a Missouri woman whose baby was cut from her womb.

Lisa Montgomery was convicted in October in the death of Bobbie Jo Stinnett, 23, who was found strangled in her Skidmore, Missouri, home. Stinnett's womb was cut open, and her unborn child was missing. Montgomery was found days later at home in Kansas, where she was attempting to pass the baby off as her own.


Timeline In Baby Theft, Murder In Wilkinsburg

July 20, 2008

This is the timeline of events in the Kia Johnson murder and baby theft case as compiled through a combination of police reports and WPXI news coverage.

Tuesday, July 15

9:00 am Kia Johnson leaves McKeesport home to go to Allegheny County Jail to visit her baby’s father.

Afternoon Surveillance video at Allegheny County Jail shows Kia Johnson talking with Andrea Curry-Demus. The women were visiting different inmates.

Wednesday, July 16

Morning Curry-Demus claims someone else removed the baby from a women delivered to her apartment and gave it to her.

Curry-Demus says she took the baby to the apartment of her sister.

Curry-Demus is taken to West Penn Hospital, with the baby’s umbilical cord attached.

Thursday, July 17

Afternoon Hospital determines that Curry-Demus did not give birth to the child. Hospital notifies the police.

Evening Andrea Curry-Demus tells police she bought the baby from a girl named “Tina” for $1,000.

Police file charges of Endangerment of a Child and Dealing in Infant Children.

Friday, July 18

5:00 pm Homicide detectives are called to Ella Street apartment of Andrea Curry-Demus to investigate foul smell.

Evening Detectives enter apartment, find body of a woman partially decomposed. Victim was bound with duct tape, and a plastic bag was placed over her head. Homicide investigation begins.

Family of Kia Johnson does interview with Channel 11 News. They state they believe the woman found is Kia, as she has been missing since Tuesday and is due to give birth on July 30th.

Saturday, July 19

Morning Autopsy completed. Medical Examiner says victim’s body was cut open at the uterus, with wounded consistent to the removal of an infant.

Manner of death is listed as homicide.

Evening Victim is identified as woman reported missing on Tuesday, Kia Johnson of McKeesport.

Clothes found on the victim are found to be consistent with what Kia Johnson was wearing on Tuesday’s jail surveillance tape.

Sunday, July 20

Morning Additional charges of criminal homicide, kidnapping and unlawful restraint are filed against Andrea Curry-Demus.


Andrea Curry-Demus


The victim

Kia Johnson



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