A mother from Oregon who is standing trial for allegedly killing her two-year-old daughter and slashing her 13-year-old’s throat smiled at cameras as she left court on Tuesday, prompting her attorneys to claim she has “lost her mind.”
Jessica Smith, 41, is suspected of killing her toddler, Isabella, in a hotel room in Canon Beach, Oregon, on July 31 by feeding her antihistamines before drowning her in a bath, reports the Daily Mail. That same day, she allegedly slashed her 13-year-old daughter Alana’s throat and wrists with a razor blade and fled the hotel.
Alana was found alive by a hotel worker and told police her mother had committed the crime. She also informed police that her parents had recently separated and she and her sister were supposed to visit their dad on the day they were discovered in the hotel room, reports Oregon Live.
Smith, who was found in her car two days after the murder on a remote logging road off of U.S. 26, was arrested and charged with aggravated murder and attempted aggravated murder — to which she pled not guilty on the basis that she suffered a “disordered mental state” at the time.
Her defense team has asked the court to bar the state from seeking the death penalty when Smith stands trial on June 28, 2016.
“The death penalty should be categorically barred by the Eighth Amendment, and certainly abolished for persons suffering from severe mental illness at the time of the offense,” wrote Lynne B. Morgan, who is one of Smith’s defense attorneys.
A hearing is set for Friday, but Smith’s lawyers are urging the court to cancel it because they feel it would require “Ms. Smith to be transported to court without good cause” and “would put this case back in the media eye for no good reason other than to satisfy the state’s thirst for publicity, which, in turn, unfairly influences the potential jury pool in this county; and would cause unnecessary expense to the indigent defense fund.”