Texas Woman Who Killed Sons Aquitted

  1. http://apnews1.iwon.com//article/200...=home&sec=news

    texas woman who killed sons acquitted[font=verdana,sans-serif][font=verdana,sans-serif]email this storyapr 4, 8:16 am (et)

    by lisa falkenberg


    [font=verdana,sans-serif](ap) deanna laney, left, returns to the courtroom with her attorney f. r. "buck" files jr. for the...
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    tyler, texas (ap) - a woman who claimed god ordered her to bash in the heads of her sons was acquitted of all charges by reason of insanity saturday after a jury determined she did not know right from wrong during the killings. a jury found that deanna laney was legally insane may 9 when she killed her two older sons, ages 6 and 8, in the front yard and left the youngest, now 2, maimed in his crib. laney, 39, would have received an automatic life sentence had she been convicted of capital murder.

    laney broke into tears as the verdict was read. her husband, keith laney, sat solemnly with his head down. a few jurors cried and struggled to maintain their composure.

    state law allows laney to be committed to a maximum security state hospital. medical evaluations will dictate when she will be released. she will remain at the smith county jail until a hearing regarding her transfer.

    defense attorney tonda curry said the verdict doesn't mean laney escaped punishment.

    "now and for the rest of her life, the punishment and torment that's going on in her own head is more significant and more damaging to her than anything the criminal justice system could have done, other than death," curry said.

    all five mental health experts consulted in the case, including two for the prosecution and one for the judge, concluded that a severe mental illness caused laney to have psychotic delusions that rendered her incapable of knowing right from wrong during the killings - the standard in texas for insanity.

    smith county district attorney matt bingham said had no regrets about taking the case to trial.

    "this is a case that the citizens of this county needed to make the decision on," he said.

    jurors deliberated about seven hours before reaching their verdict in the deaths of 8-year-old joshua and 6-year-old luke, and the beating of aaron. the baby was found bleeding in his crib while the other two were found with their skulls smashed in the front yard.

    [font=verdana,sans-serif](ap) deanna laney, center left, stands with her defense team, lajuanda lacy, far left, f.r. "buck"...
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    defense attorneys argued that insanity was the only reason why a deeply religious mother who homeschooled her children would kill two of them and maim another without so much as a tear.

    "there was no crying," curry said. "she was insane. there is no other answer."

    psychiatrists testified that laney believed she was divinely chosen by god - just as mary was chosen to bear christ - to kill her children as a test of faith and then serve as a witness after the world ended. in a videotape played at her trial, laney said she saw her youngest son play with a spear, hold a rock and squeeze a frog, and took them all as signs from god that she should kill her children.

    in closing arguments earlier saturday, prosecutors portrayed the killings last mother's day weekend as deceptively planned and coldly executed.

    "it was graphic, it was horrific and it was brutal," bingham told the jury.

    bingham pounded his fist in his hand as he recounted joshua's killing: "he got strike after strike after strike on his head to the point that his brains were coming out of his head like liquid."

    prosecutors said that even if laney believed she was doing right by god, she had to have known she was doing wrong by state law. her first call, they pointed out, was to 911 to summon authorities.

    the 911 tape was among the evidence jurors reviewed during deliberations. jurors also had asked for psychiatric testimony to resolve a disagreement over why deanna laney stopped beating aaron, then 14 months old, but they reached a verdict before receiving the transcript.

    psychiatrists testified that laney couldn't finish killing the baby, and that she told god, "you're just going to have to do the rest." prosecutors said that action indicated laney knew right from wrong and that if she chose to disobey god's orders by not killing aaron, she could have disobeyed his orders to kill the other two. bingham said aaron, who lives with his father, suffered permanent injuries in the attack.


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  2. 56 Comments

  3. by   ktwlpn
    <quote>State law allows Laney to be committed to a maximum security state hospital. Medical evaluations will dictate when she will be released. She will remain at the Smith County Jail until a hearing regarding her transfer.

    Defense attorney Tonda Curry said the verdict doesn't mean Laney escaped punishment. <quote>
    > She could be commited for the rest of her life...
  4. by   joyflnoyz
    If I recall correctly, a few years ago Michigan threw out the "not guilty by reason of insanity"pleas, and instituted a "Guilty, but mentally ill" type thing. Makes a lot more sense to me..does't let a person "off the hook" for their actions, but gets them the help they need.
  5. by   duckboy20
    Yeah she could be committed for the rest of her life. But her kids are dead by a gruesome beating. Sounds like a fair trade off to me!
  6. by   NurseHardee
    Have others noticed how often Fundamentalist religion is tied together with this type of acting out by people with psychotic depression? I started to notice this years ago when there was a case of a University of Washington student who read the Bible, and then gouged out one of his eyes and cut off one of his hands. It struck me then as how dangerous it can be to interpret the Bible literally. What if we all did so?

    Nurse Hardee
  7. by   duckboy20
    Not trying to attack or anything but I don't think Fundamentalist religion has to do anything with it. I personally think the people who commit these crimes have far more problems than just trying to interpret the Bible as being literal. There are many religions where people have killed others or done terrible crimes. There also have been many people unassociated with any religion whatsoever that commit terrible acts. These people to me seem to have serious mental problems but I don't think that should hinder them from getting the punishment deserved, mental problems or no.
  8. by   psychomachia
    Quote from NurseHardee
    Have others noticed how often Fundamentalist religion is tied together with this type of acting out by people with psychotic depression? I started to notice this years ago when there was a case of a University of Washington student who read the Bible, and then gouged out one of his eyes and cut off one of his hands. It struck me then as how dangerous it can be to interpret the Bible literally. What if we all did so?

    Nurse Hardee


    I can assure you I won't....hehheehhee
  9. by   Spidey's mom
    Quote from NurseHardee
    Have others noticed how often Fundamentalist religion is tied together with this type of acting out by people with psychotic depression? I started to notice this years ago when there was a case of a University of Washington student who read the Bible, and then gouged out one of his eyes and cut off one of his hands. It struck me then as how dangerous it can be to interpret the Bible literally. What if we all did so?

    Nurse Hardee
    You are making a huge leap here . . . . did ya ever notice that people who have psychotic episodes and commit murder have eaten Twinkies? (Remember Dan White and the Twinkie Defense?). We'd better hold off on that next Twinkie.

    Did ya ever notice that women who kill their children by drowning them in a lake are messing around on their husbands? Oh no wait, there was that one woman (Farrah Fawcett played her in the movie) . . . she was single but wanted her boyfriend back and he didn't want kids so she took them out on a rural road and shot them? Hey, the problem here is MEN.

    Oh wait wait wait . . . did you ever notice teenagers who go on rampages with guns and kill other folks usually listen to Marilyn Manson and take him literally?

    Come on Nursehardee, it isn't fair to blame any one thing except the person and their psychosis.

    steph
  10. by   Energizer Bunny
    Have others noticed how often Fundamentalist religion is tied together with this type of acting out by people with psychotic depression?
    I have noticed this and since this mother said God spoke to her, I think this is a fair argument here. If she hadn't said God spoke to her and told her to kill her children, then I would agree with steph (stevielynn) that this argument doesn't belong here.

    What really angers me is that these people that use God as an excuse are just fueling the flames of anyone who does not believe in God. They aren't helping their religion any and frankly, I am disgusted that ANYONE would think God would tell them to kill ANYONE.
  11. by   Browneyedgirl
    Quote from CNM2B
    I have noticed this and since this mother said God spoke to her, I think this is a fair argument here. If she hadn't said God spoke to her and told her to kill her children, then I would agree with steph (stevielynn) that this argument doesn't belong here.

    What really angers me is that these people that use God as an excuse are just fueling the flames of anyone who does not believe in God. They aren't helping their religion any and frankly, I am disgusted that ANYONE would think God would tell them to kill ANYONE.


    Hopefully, the loving God of the New Testament would not, but, wasn't it Abraham who took Iassac on top of the mountain as a living sacrifice to God; then, the spotless white sheep arrived to take his place? I may have the names wrong, but I know the story is right.

    I'm not aethist....just in all I've been given in my life....and all the prayers I've prayed...I'm not so sure that God really cares about anyone's day to day struggles.

    This mother (if she was insane) struggled daily. These children definitely struggled. You cannot convince me that neither of them did not pray to God for help. She PUT HER KNEES on the 8yo's hands so he wouldn't fight her! DO YOU NOT THINK THIS CHILD WAS PRAYING?????

    WHO HEARD HIS CRIES?
  12. by   Energizer Bunny
    Quote from Browneyedgirl
    [/B]

    Hopefully, the loving God of the New Testament would not, but, wasn't it Abraham who took Iassac on top of the mountain as a living sacrifice to God; then, the spotless white sheep arrived to take his place? I may have the names wrong, but I know the story is right.

    I'm not aethist....just in all I've been given in my life....and all the prayers I've prayed...I'm not so sure that God really cares about anyone's day to day struggles.

    This mother (if she was insane) struggled daily. These children definitely struggled. You cannot convince me that neither of them did not pray to God for help. She PUT HER KNEES on the 8yo's hands so he wouldn't fight her! DO YOU NOT THINK THIS CHILD WAS PRAYING?????

    WHO HEARD HIS CRIES?
    I am not going to get into a religious debate with you...only tell you that I once was where you are now wondering where God is on a day to day basis. I will pray for you (and I believe God answers every prayer in the way it is planned for us).
  13. by   donmurray
    Working in psychiatry, it's a commonplace to encounter psychotic ideation with a religious component. Hence my signature.
  14. by   Spidey's mom
    Quote from donmurray
    Working in psychiatry, it's a commonplace to encounter psychotic ideation with a religious component. Hence my signature.
    That is true, I know. But I would venture to guess that all over the world in all religious traditions there are cases of psychotic ideation (schizophrenia for one) and that would include hearing the voice of whoever they think God is. And that certainly doesn't mean that nursehardee gets to paint with a broad brush that the fundamentalist's idea of God causes people to murder.

    One of the hardest things for me to understand in my long quest towards God was the question of suffering. Especially child abuse and molestation. I understand that we have free will and if God intervened to the point of stopping all pain and suffering we would have to be merely pre-programmed robots. But at the same time, how can He let a child be bludgeoned to death with a rock? Or sexually molested time and time again? All hard questions.

    Philip Yancey (Disappointment with God, Where Is God When It Hurts?, Fearfully and Wonderfully Made) is a great author who deals with the questions of pain and suffering. As does C.S. Lewis, who is an intellectual powerhouse. I also spend alot of time in the bible because one of my friends bought me one of the "read the bible in a year" bibles and it helps to have it laid out in daily readings (old testament, new testament and then proverbs and psalms).

    I don't have all the answers still and never will. But I can't fall back to believing in nothing when I see the beauty and logic of the way the physical world was made, when I look the intricacy of DNA or just one human cell, when I see the compassion that is poured out from one human being to another, when I see another new life born. There is definitely evil in the world, horrible things happen but for me to believe that we are all just an accident and there is no purpose to life would be worse than having to struggle to understand why God allows suffering.

    I veer toward the authors who admit to not knowing all the answers. Who struggle with their own demons and admit it. Lots of folks like that in the bible, in fact all the folks God used had many many faults. He wasn't looking for perfection.

    As to evil and suffering . . .I'm still searching for the answers but at least for me I'm still searching.

    steph

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