Mom Charged in Girl's Death Could Get Her Trust Fund

Nicole Diggs could get cash even if convicted

By Newser Editors and Wire Services

Posted Aug 31, 2014 10:41 PM CDT | Updated Sep 1, 2014 3:33 AM CDT

(Newser) – A special education teacher accused of killing her severely disabled 8-year-old daughter by withholding food and medical care could inherit nearly $1 million from the girl's trust fund—even if she's convicted. Nicole Diggs and her husband, who isn't the girl's father, have pleaded not guilty to charges of negligent homicide and child endangerment in the 2012 death of Alayah Savarese, who was the beneficiary of a trust fund created from the settlement of a malpractice suit that stemmed from complications during her birth.

Prosecutors in Westchester County, NY, say Alayah "was not provided required daily food," did not receive necessary medical treatment, was often left unattended, and was frequently kept home from school, depriving her of physical therapy. If convicted, the 32-year-old Diggs wouldn't be automatically disqualified under state law from inheriting her daughter's fortune because she isn't charged with intending to kill the girl. "If it's unintentional, then the person can still inherit," an attorney explains. "But the facts of this case are very unsettling, and under the circumstances, it doesn't seem correct that that would happen." Alayah's biological father, who isn't charged, is in line to get half the trust fund. His lawyer declined to say whether his client would challenge Diggs' inheritance.

Nicole Diggs is shown in this June 2014 photo provided by the Westchester County Department of Correction.
Nicole Diggs is shown in this June 2014 photo provided by the Westchester County Department of Correction.   (AP Photo/Westchester County Department of Correction)
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