Homeless mom’s trial opens in baby’s shelter death

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PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A lawyer for a mother-of-six charged with starving her baby to death at a Philadelphia a homeless shelter says his client is “a scapegoat” for the failings of social workers, doctors and city officials.

Tanya Williams is charged with murder in the December 2010 death of two-month-old Quasir Alexander.

In opening statements Thursday, defense lawyer Greg Pagano said a social worker checked on the baby 36 hours before he died and declared him safe and well.

Assistant District Attorney Peter Lim told jurors the baby had no fat or muscle and was down a half-pound from his four-pound, 12-ounce birth weight. His twin was also allegedly near death.

Pagano says the 34-year-old Williams slept in the lobby of the city’s welfare agency to get help when she became homeless.

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