Mental Health in the Spotlight in Drowning Case

9December
2015

A young mother in Avondale faces murder charges for the death of her two-year-old twin boys. The woman, who suffers from manic-depression, psychosis, and schizophrenia, told police that she drowned her boys in a bathtub because “nobody loved them and nobody loved her.” She claimed that she did not want her children to live a difficult life, and that she did not want her children to grow up facing the same mental demons that she faced. She said she believed it would be better for the boys to be at peace than to live with the same struggles she did. The woman also attempted to drown her 3-year-old stepbrother, but family members were able to intervene before he was killed. Family members claim the woman had recently been released from a hospital where she had been treated for mental illness. The woman had no previous criminal history, and was taking steps to handle her mental illness. The woman was also allegedly under the influence of drugs at the time of the drownings.

The first thing people ask when they hear a story like this one is WHY? HOW?? Sadly, when dealing with severe mental disorders, there are no logical explanations. According to USA TODAY, about 450 kids are killed each year by a parent. It is unclear how many of those killings may have been correlated with mental disorders.

So what is next for this woman? In any mental illness defense case, the defendant must first take a competency exam to determine if mental disease would be a significant mitigating factor in the case. Psychiatric history, previous hospital stays, medical records, and other factors would also be reviewed and evaluated. Since the drownings, the woman appeared in court and claimed not guilty to two counts of first degree murder and one count of attempted first degree murder. No further details are available at this time.

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Posted in Mental Health Defenses, Violent Crime |