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Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Manslaughter charges filed against young Nashua mother after infant child dies in hospital

NASHUA – A young mother was arraigned on manslaughter charges Monday morning, days after her 2-year-old son died in a Massachusetts hospital.

Unique Gould was scheduled to appear at a probable cause hearing at Nashua district court on Monday. Instead, prosecutors leveled several new charges, handed to Gould’s public defender in the courtroom, including one count of manslaughter. ...

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NASHUA – A young mother was arraigned on manslaughter charges Monday morning, days after her 2-year-old son died in a Massachusetts hospital.

Unique Gould was scheduled to appear at a probable cause hearing at Nashua district court on Monday. Instead, prosecutors leveled several new charges, handed to Gould’s public defender in the courtroom, including one count of manslaughter.

Gould is also charged with one counts of first-degree assault and three-counts of second-degree assault, according to court records.

Gould appeared wearing an orange prison jumpsuit and had her hands shackled at the wrist. Judge Thomas Bamberger kept her bail at $100,000 cash only.

Gould is charged with hitting her son, Devon Gould, about two weeks ago. The baby has been at Massachusetts General Hospital after having emergency brain surgery in Nashua, according to court documents.

Gould’s public defender Tony Sculimbrene argued against sealing some of the backing court documents as county prosecutors asked the judge to do. He said media reports have already reported many of the details of the case.

A county prosecutor said Gould called 911 only after a roommate said he or she would do it and about 18 hours after the alleged assault.

Gould’s uncle told The Telegraph Saturday that the baby had died after the family and doctors decided to remove his respirator.

“Ms. Gould asserts her innocence. She is devastated by the child’s death. We will litigate every aspect of the case,” Sculimbrene said in a written statement following the hearing.

Gould’s family declined to comment after the hearing.

Police said the boy suffered bleeding in his brain after Gould struck him in the head, according to court documents.

Police were called to Gould’s residence around 2 p.m. April 26 when it was reported to AMR Ambulance that a mother was having difficulty waking up her young son, according to an arrest affidavit filed at Nashua district court.

Detectives Marc Anderson and Patrick Hannon interviewed Gould, who waived her Miranda rights and told police she had spanked her son the previous day.

She admitted striking him numerous times on the buttocks and said she also hit him in the head with her hand, according to the affidavit.

Gould told the detectives she “blacked out” at one point and admitted to hitting the boy “very hard,” according to the affidavit.

Smart said the baby’s family is struggling to understand what happened and said they are “very distraught, confused.” He said the family has been shocked by what police say Gould did.

“It’s very out of character,” Smart said. “We don’t understand it at all.”

Prosecutors dropped the original first-degree assault charge on Monday. Gould entered no pleas on the new charges and a probable cause hearing will be scheduled soon.

Joseph G. Cote can be reached at 594-6415 or jcote@nashuatelegraph.com.