A New Jersey woman convicted of murder in the death of her 17-month-old son 4 1/2 years ago has been sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Heather Reynolds, 45, was sentenced by Judge Gwendolyn Blue on November 15, 2022, to a term of life imprisonment, with no possibility of parole for the murder of her 17-month-old son. who died on May 10, 2018.
Prosecutors alleged that Reynolds suffocated her son, Axel, by holding a cleansing wipe over his nose and mouth. They alleged that she was motivated by drug addiction and a desire to maintain an extra-marital affair, so she killed her son to get him out of the way.
Camden County Prosecutor Grace C. MacAulay said that Judge Blue also sentenced Reynolds to a concurrent eight-year prison term for Endangering the Welfare of a Child, and a concurrent four-year prison term for Possession of a Controlled Dangerous Substance (methamphetamine).
On Thursday, July 28, a jury returned a guilty verdict against Reynolds for murder, possession of methamphetamine and endangering the welfare of a child.
Reynolds also was accused of trying to hire a hitman to kill an ex-boyfriend who spoke to police about the case but she was acquitted on that conspiracy charge.
Her attorney, who has vowed an appeal, called her a devoted mother who tried to revive her son when she found him unresponsive and then ran out holding him and screaming for help from neighbors.
On May 10, 2018, Gloucester Township Police officers responded to a report of an unresponsive child on a lawn near his residence, in Marcia Court, Sicklerville, in Gloucester Township.
The child was pronounced deceased a short time later. A post-mortem examination was conducted, and the cause of the child’s death was asphyxia and the manner of death was homicide.
Trace levels of isopropyl alcohol were found in the boy’s system, which led the medical examiner to conclude that a wipe containing the substance was placed over Axel’s face to suffocate him.
Reynolds was arrested on June 13, 2019, and she has been held without bail since then.
Judge Blue listened to members of the victim’s family discuss how the defendant’s crime had affected their lives before imposing the sentence.
On July 28, 2022, following a nine-day trial before Judge Blue, a Camden County jury returned a guilty verdict against Reynolds for Murder, Possession of Methamphetamine, and Endangering the Welfare of a Child.
“We are grateful to the jury for the time and attention that they gave to this case,” said CCPO Homicide Section Chief Peter Gallagher who represents the state in this matter.