Mubashra Uddin has been depressed in the days since she was accused of dropping her newborn baby from a window of her family’s eighth-floor Uptown Chicago apartment, her lawyers said Thursday.
A close friend also said Uddin may have been overwhelmed by the pressure that comes with being raised in a pious immigrant family. She has been charged with murder in the death of her newborn.
"At that moment, she probably wasn’t thinking and she cracked... because the Mubashra I know wouldn’t do something like this if she was in right state of mind," Uddin’s childhood friend "Nina O" wrote in a letter to Cook County Judge James Brown.
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Uddin, a Muslim of Pakistani descent, gave birth to a 7-pound, 11-ounce girl in her bedroom while her 10-year-old sister slept the night of Nov. 11, Assistant State’s Attorney Patrick Turnock said. Minutes later, when Uddin heard her mother approaching the bedroom, she opened the window, held the baby out head first and released her grip, according to Turnock.
A neighbor found the baby, bloody and still breathing, wrapped the infant in his shirt and waited for an ambulance. The child died about an hour later, Turnock said.
Uddin hid the pregnancy from her parents because she thought they wouldn’t approve, authorities said. She was able to conceal her pregnancy by wearing baggy clothes and never sought prenatal care, according to Turnock.
As Uddin stood with her head bowed in court Thursday, her attorney Barry Sheppard urged the judge to set bail for the 19-year-old.
"Standing before you is someone who is heartbroken and sad... She is a confused, older teenager," Sheppard said. "She’s extremely contrite. She’s saddened. She’s been crying."
But after hearing the details of the baby girl’s death, Brown ordered that Uddin remain held without bond in Cook County Jail while she awaits trial for murder.
"Dropping a baby out of an eighth-story window to its eventual death is exceedingly evil and exceedingly cruel," the judge said.
Sheppard told reporters that while Uddin comes from a religiously conservative background, it doesn’t mean her parents don’t love her. They support her "100 percent," the defense attorney said.
Uddin’s father and teary-eyed mother declined comment but shook their head in agreement while standing with another relative and Uddin’s former grade school counselor from Walt Disney Magnet School.
The counselor described Uddin, who waved to her parents in court, as a model student and a "sweetheart."
Uddin’s boyfriend’s mother also expressed support for her and said she wasn’t “in the right state of mind” at the time of the incident. The young woman’s family was "strict" and pulled her out of high school once they found out about the relationship, she said.
Uddin, who had been currently attending DeVry University on a scholarship, has been receiving treatment for depression while in Cook County Jail, Sheppard said, adding that the baby’s fall may have been "accidental."
Sheppard and his partner gave the judge several letters of support from Uddin’s neighbors, classmates and teachers.
A friend, Sahdia Uddin, described Mubashra Uddin as "a very kind, caring and loving girl who should not spend the rest of her life in jail," adding that "Mubashra is not a monster."