Ill mother who killed sons may face execution

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Ill mother who killed sons may face execution

Post  Jennie on Tue Jul 08, 2008 11:25 am

Ill mother who killed sons may face execution
Dec 8 2007 by Paul James, The Journal

THE mother of two North children could face the death penalty for smothering them to death after becoming convinced they were possessed by a demon.


American Meghan Lippiatt, 32, admits killing two-year-old Silas and his four-month-old brother Miles in 2004, weeks after they were taken from her after a five-hour standoff with police at Newcastle Airport.

Prosecutors in Pennsylvania, where the killings happened, are now pressing for her to be convicted of first-degree murder, which is punishable with lethal injection.

But Lippiatt’s defence team is arguing she is not guilty by reason of insanity.

Lippiatt met her husband Daniel, the son of a Newcastle vicar, in Carlisle in 2000 and they lived for a time at Brampton in Cumbria.


Last night, closing arguments were heard in the three-day trial and Lancaster County Judge James Cullen is due to deliver a verdict on Monday.

Lippiatt, who elected trial without jury, sobbed in the Lancaster County Courthouse as assistant district attorney Kelly Sekula described how she had methodically killed her two children at her parents’ home on April 18, 2004.

Ms Sekula told the judge that two months before the boys died, when the family were living in England, Lippiatt had called 999 to say voices were telling her to harm her children.

Three days later, Lippiatt tried to fly with them to the US from Newcastle Airport, but had an emotional breakdown and locked herself and the children in a car until police intervened and she was taken to hospital.

Her parents John and Susan Kelleher took the children to the US, where she had previously lived with Daniel, whose father Michael Lippiatt was a vicar at Holy Trinity Church in Jesmond for 20 years before retiring through ill health.

Lippiatt killed the boys on the first day she was left alone with them.

She first suffocated baby Miles with a nappy because she knew he would not put up a fight, it was said.

She then used zip ties to fasten Silas’s hands together and told him to get into the bath. Before she killed him, she pulled his head back above water and told him she loved him.

Afterwards she dialled 911, and a recording of the call was played to the trial.

In it she said: “I just did something really, really bad. I just killed my kids.” She then tells the dispatcher that she has swallowed a bottle of painkillers.

Dr Neil Blumberg told the judge Lippiatt described the voices in her head as becoming “dark and sinister, more commanding, more persistent”.

She became convinced “her children were possessed by a demon,” he said, and “that she was possessed and the only way to save all of them was to end their lives”.

Dr Blumberg said Lippiatt’s mental illness remained so severe it exceeded the standard for a conviction of guilty, but mentally ill. He had suggested to her that her mental illness could be used in her defence.

“At that time, she was not interested in defence,’’ Dr Blumberg said. “She wanted the death penalty.”

Before the trial started on Wednesday, Ms Sekula told the judge she had not decided whether to seek the death penalty if Lippiatt was convicted of first-degree murder.

A verdict of guilty but mentally ill means the convicted person is placed in hospital until they are well enough to go to prison to complete the sentence.

(Source: Journal)
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