Autumn N. Matacchiera, 20, was charged with first-degree attempted murder after she allegedly tossed a little girl she didn’t know on the tracks at the Burlington township light rail station.
Matacchiera pleaded not guilty to the crime during a Tuesday appearance at the Burlington County Superior Court, the Courier-Post reports.
Her attorney, Brenda Maneri, told the judge Matacchiera plans to plead not guilty by reason of insanity and will request a bench trial.
Matacchiera was arrested in January after she grabbed a woman’s child and tossed the girl in front of an approaching River LINE train.
An officer witnessed the incident and was able to signal for the train to stop, as the woman’s boyfriend jumped onto the tracks to retrieve the child.
The girl was taken to the hospital with minor cuts and bruises.
Matacchiera told the Courier-Post shortly after the incident that she was trying to sacrifice the girl to win the love of an estranged relative.
“I didn’t think it was anything bad,” she said. “Now, I kind of regret it. People tell me that sacrificing a human isn’t the same as sacrificing the animal.”
Matacchiera’s mother told NJ.com that her daughter has been in and out of mental health facilities for years, but was “not a criminal.”
“She has mental health issues,” Laura Matacchiera told the outlet. “It’s an ongoing problem.”
A trial date has been set for Nov. 8.