Board to review life sentence for mom who killed baby in toilet

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – The state Board of Pardons will announce a major decision Friday for a Dauphin County woman convicted of first-degree murder in the death of her newborn daughter more than 20 years ago.

In 1994, Tina Brosius drowned the baby girl in a portable toilet at Brightbill Park in Lower Paxton Township.

“It was a terrible case. It was a mother on Mother’s Day giving birth and letting that child, putting that child in a porta potty that was full of filth and chemicals,” said District Attorney Ed Marsico, who prosecuted the case while he was an assistant district attorney.

Brosius was 18 years old and living at home. She’d already had two other children. Her parents warned her not to have another.

Attorney Steve Grose has never applied to the Board of Pardons to have a client’s life sentence commuted, but that’s what he’s done for Brosius, a member of his church. He is cautiously optimistic.

“She has lived with that for 23 years. She’s demonstrated by word and by deed that she’s a different person, she’s not the same person,” Grose said.

Democratic Lt. Gov. Mike Stack heads the Board of Pardons. He said it bothers him that someone as young as Brosius got a life sentence. He said others with more money hire better attorneys and get lighter sentences.

“I think we’re not being soft on crime, I think we’re being strong on justice,” Stack said.

Her attorney says Brosius’s two now-grown daughters, members of her church, and even Dauphin County Judge John Cherry have appealed to the Board of Pardons to let Brosius go, but not the man who prosecuted the case and got that life sentence.

“No, I don’t think her sentence should be commuted at this time,” Marsico said. “I think if she had killed a 4-year-old by drowning it in a pool, we wouldn’t be having this discussion about whether she should get out of jail. Why is it that we value the life of a newborn less than if she killed someone older?”

The board’s announcement will only be a recommendation. Gov. Tom Wolf will have a final say on the decision.

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