Massachusetts mother accused of killing kids appears in court from hospital bed as judge spares her from jail
A Massachusetts mother accused of killing her three children before trying to take her own life while suffering severe postpartum psychosis will be allowed to go to a rehab centre instead of jail as she awaits trial.
Lindsay Clancy, 32, was arraigned on murder charges via Zoom on Tuesday from the undisclosed hospital where she is receiving trauma care. Ms Clancy is accused of strangling Cora, 5, Dawson, 3, and seven-month-old Callan on 24 January while her husband Patrick Clancy stepped out of their Duxbury home to pick up take-out food.
At the hearing, prosecutors revealed that the children’s bodies were found in the basement and that Ms Clancy had used exercise bands to kill them, WCBV reported. Ms Clancy’s attorney Kevin Reddington argued that she did not pose a flight risk as the spine injuries she suffered after jumping from the second-story window of her home left her paraplegic.
The judge ordered that Ms Clancy be held in the hospital until she can be transported to a rehabilitation centre, where she will continue to receive mental health care. Ms Clancy, a labour and delivery nurse at Massachusetts General Hospital, is currently on suicide watch out of fear that she might attempt to harm herself again.
Mr Reddington has previously said he intends to argue in court that Ms Clancy was not competent to stand trial, but the prosecution argued on Tuesday that Ms Clancy “created” the opportunity to kill her children by allegedly timing out how long her husband would be gone.
Assistant District Attorney Jennifer Sprague said that on the morning of the tragedy, Ms Clancy had taken Cora to a paediatric appointment and seemed her normal self. The mother-of-three reportedly played with the children in the snow and called a local CVS to inquire about medication for their kids.
During those interactions, the prosecution alleges that Ms Clancy seemed “lucid” and did not slur her words. Ms Sprague said she specifically asked Mr Clancy to pick up food because “[she] didn’t cook anything, [and it had] been a long day.”
The prosecution said the request was unusual because the family would often pick up food from restaurants closer to the home.
The couple had a short 14-second-long conversation while Mr Clancy bought medication for the children at a CVS. He initially said that Ms Clancy seemed normal but later told investigators that it sounded like she was in the middle of something.
Ms Sprague said Mr Clancy arrived at the home around 6pm to find his bedroom room locked. When he managed to get inside, he saw blood and found Ms Clancy, who had jumped from the window to the ground after allegedly slashing her wrists.
“He called 911. During this time, he asked the defendant, ‘What did you do?’ She responded to him, ‘I tried to kill myself and jumped out the window.’ During the 911 call, Patrick can be heard asking the defendant, ‘Where are the kids?’ He later told police that she replied in the basement,” Ms Sprague said, per WCBV.
“He can then be heard screaming in agony, in shock as he found his children. His screams seemed to get louder and more agonised as the time passes.”
She added: “...Patrick removed the bands [from the children’s necks] and could be heard begging his children to breathe. He continued to scream uncontrollably, ‘She killed the kids.’”
Mr Sprague said that the children’s cause of death was “ligature strangulation.”
Mr Reddington has said that the mother-of-three was overly medicated and going through severe postpartum depression after giving birth to her youngest son.
He claimed Ms Clancy was on 12 different medications, including Prozac and Seroquel, and that she was having side effects such as homicidal and suicidal ideation that ultimately led to the tragedy. Mr Reddington claimed that she heard the voice of a man telling her to kill her children.
“I question whether she would ever make it to a trial. She suicidal. She’s extremely emotional. However, she’s unable and has been unable to express any happiness or sadness or cry,” Mr Reddington said.
Ms Clancy faces two counts of first-degree murder, three counts of strangulation and suffocation and three counts of assault with a deadly weapon. She is also expected to be charged with the murder of her youngest child, who died three days after the attack.
A funeral for the children was held on 3 February.
On Saturday, Mr Clancy wrote in an update on a GoFundMe page that has raised more than $1m that he forgave his wife, saying that the nurse was “loving and caring towards everyone”.
“I want to ask all of you that you find it deep within yourselves to forgive Lindsay, as I have,” he wrote. “The real Lindsay was generously loving and caring towards everyone — me, our kids, family, friends, and her patients. The very fibers of her soul are loving. All I wish for her now is that she can somehow find peace.”