Mother Pleads Guilty to First-Degree Murder: Judge Decides She Was Legally Sane

After a two-day trial which focused entirely on the testimonies of two state psychiatrists regarding the mental state of a Kent Island woman accused of killing her 3-year-old daughter, a Queen Anne’s County Circuit Court judge ruled that she was legally sane when she murdered her youngest child. The judge considered the statements from the hearing, which circulated around the doctors’ opinions and how they reached those conclusions regarding the defendant’s mental health. Now the woman may be sentenced to life in prison when she is sentenced on September 28, 2009.

The accused pleaded guilty to first-degree murder but claimed to not be “criminally responsible” for the killing due to being so depressed that she could not control her actions or thoughts. Stating that she knew it was wrong to poison her daughter, it was also reported that the woman suffered from a major depressive disorder and previously attempted to kill herself.

In this particular homicide case in Maryland, the jury did not decide if the Kent Island woman suffered from insanity; instead, it was the judge. During the course of the first day of trial, the psychiatrists testified that the accused revealed her plans to kill her daughter to a nurse practitioner at the family doctor’s office. The psychiatrists also said that the defendant was able to control herself in almost every other part of her life.

Homicide in Maryland is a very serious crime. Fortunately, those facing charges, no matter how severe, have the right to a fair trial and to seek legal representation and counsel. This particular case is unique in that the judge will be deciding the future of the accused rather than a jury. Matters regarding a homicide, whether it is in the first-degree or second-degree, can be more complex when the accused has suffered from a mental illness.

At Alpert Schreyer, LLC, our criminal defense attorneys have a broad understanding of defending the rights of those facing homicide and assault charges. We realize that law enforcement can make mistakes and are capable of misusing their authority when it comes to issuing an arrest and conducting an investigation. If you or a loved one is being accused of homicide or assault in Maryland, you can depend on the skill and knowledge of the experienced homicide defense attorneys at Alpert Schreyer. Call us today at 866-444-6363 for a free case evaluation.

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About Andrew Alpert

+Andrew is one of the leading DUI and criminal defense attorneys in both the state of Maryland and the District of Columbia. He blogs about Maryland DUI law, has numerous videos on the subject and has been asked to appear on national television to offer his legal opinion on high-profile criminal cases.