A woman charged with killing four of her young children and her husband smiled and flashed a double thumbs up to news cameras during her first court appearance this week in metro Atlanta.
Isabel Martinez, 33, appeared before Gwinnett County Magistrate Court Judge Michael Thorpe in Georgia, US, a day after police said she stabbed the five to death and seriously injured another child at her home outside Atlanta.
The injured child, a nine-year-old girl, survived but remained hospitalised with injuries police described as serious.
An immigration official said the woman, who is from Mexico, entered the US illegally.
Before the hearing began, Martinez sat with other inmates and struck poses for cameras — smiling, giving the thumbs up, putting her hands in a prayer position and spreading her arms out wide.
As Judge Thorpe listed the charges against her — five counts of malice murder, five counts of murder and six counts of aggravated assault — Martinez smiled, shook her head "no" and wagged her finger at him.
The judge advised her sharply not to perform for the cameras.
"Ma'am, I'm going to caution you to cut out the display for the cameras," he said.
"It's really not a good idea, probably not to your benefit."
When he informed her of her right to have an attorney, she said through a Spanish-language interpreter that she doesn't want one. She later added that her attorney will always be the people "that we're fighting for" and her faith.
"You are the hope of the world, each one of you," she said in Spanish, appearing to address the news cameras.
"It doesn't matter what color you are because God loves us all."
Thorpe advised Martinez to hire a lawyer or to allow one to be appointed for her.
Meanwhile, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokesman Bryan Cox said in an email Friday local time that Martinez — whom he identified as Maria Isabel Garduno-Martinez — is from Mexico and entered the country illegally.
This is her first encounter with immigration authorities, and it's not clear how long she has been in the U.S., Cox said.
Local officials called the killings "horrendous."
"What prompts a person to take the life of such innocent children and her spouse is something we may never understand," Gwinnett County police said in a statement.
"This is a horrendous crime not only for the victims but for the extended family, neighbourhood and community."
Some neighbours in the small, largely Hispanic neighborhood in Loganville, about 30 miles (48 kilometers) east of Atlanta, said they had no clue anything was amiss in the home until police mobbed the scene Thursday morning.
The neighbours said the Spanish-speaking family had moved to the community recently, and their children seemed happy playing with other neighbourhood kids.
Victoria Nievs said Martinez had recently suffered the death of her father.
Gwinnett County Police Officer Michele Pihera confirmed that the 911 call came from a woman who was inside the home at 4:47 a.m. Thursday to report a stabbing. Police believe Martinez made that call.
Pihera said the caller was speaking Spanish, which initially made it difficult for 911 operators to communicate with her. The county sheriff's office said Martinez's case was being processed by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
The hospitalised girl, Diana Romero, was in serious but stable condition Thursday evening, police said.
The four children killed were identified as Isabela Martinez, 10; Dacota Romero, seven; Dillan Romero, four; and Axel Romero, two.
Their slain father was Martin Romero, 33, Pihera said. Police said Romero and Isabel Martinez were married.
Early indications are that a knife was used to attack the five, though a medical examiner will make the final determination about the cause of death, she said.