Friday, July 18, 2008

Texas Mother to Remain in State Mental Hospital

Below is an update on the case of Deanna Laney, from the Tyler Morning Telegraph ("Woman Who Stoned Children to Death Will Remain in Mental Facility," July 8, 2008). Ms. Laney was found not guilty by reason of insanity for the murder of her children. She has spent the last four years in state mental hospitals.

The Texas Code of Criminal Procedure "prohibits the court and attorneys from informing a juror or prospective juror of the consequences to the defendant if a verdict of not guilty by reason of insanity is returned. The purpose of this provision is to prevent the jurors, if possible, from being influenced by the consequences of their decision to the defendant. It has been held that this provision does not deny fundamental fairnessto the defendant." (Texas Criminal Procedure and the Offender with Mental Illness: An Analysis and Guide, pp. 156-157).

Here's the article in full:

"Deanna Laney — who was found not guilty by reason of insanity after she stoned her young sons to death in 2003 — will remain in a mental facility for another year, a state district judge decided Monday.

A closed-door civil commitment hearing was held in 114th District Judge Cynthia Stevens Kent’s court, as it has been each year since Ms. Laney’s April 2004 capital murder trial.

After the hearing, defense attorney F.R. “Buck” Files Jr. said Judge Kent maintained the same order as she did last year.

When Ms. Laney was acquitted by a Smith County jury in April 2004, Judge Kent ordered Ms. Laney be placed in a maximum-security inpatient treatment facility. Since then, Judge Kent has presided over private hearings each year and determined that Ms. Laney should remain at an inpatient facility.
Last year, after attorneys discovered that Ms. Laney had been transferred from Vernon State Hospital to the Kerrville State Hospital and was being allowed unsupervised furloughs by doctors, Judge Kent put a stop to it at the request of prosecutors. Ms. Laney’s defense attorneys appealed her decision, but the 12th Court of Appeals ruled in April 2007 that the Texas Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation could not grant Ms. Laney passes to leave the facility with her parents to go shopping and dining in the Hill Country.

In June 2004, Vernon State Hospital transferred Ms. Laney from its maximum-security facility to Kerrville State Hospital, a non-secure impatient facility, court documents state.

Between August and December 2005, Ms. Laney’s treatment team granted her brief passes off the hospital campus in Kerrville.


A jury found Ms. Laney, a 43-year-old housewife who home-schooled her children, not guilty by reason of insanity for stoning her sons to death on Mother’s Day weekend in 2003.

Joshua, 8, and Luke, 6, were found dead in the front yard of the family’s New Chapel Hill home, and then-14-month-old Aaron was found seriously injured in his crib.

Ms. Laney’s attorneys admitted during the trial that she had stoned her children, but contended that she was insane and did not know that what she was doing was wrong. Ms. Laney told authorities God told her to kill her children.

Under Texas law, people are found legally insane if, at the time of an offense, they did not know their conduct was wrong because of some mental illness or defect.

Ms. Laney was defended in trial by attorneys Files, Tonda Curry and LaJuanda Lacy, while Smith County District Attorney Matt Bingham, former First Assistant DA Brett Harrison and current First Assistant DA April Sikes prosecuted the case.

Judge Kent issued a restrictive and protective order, limiting what attorneys can say about the case."

1 comment:

andersonsmith said...

I think that it is wrong thing. But she is patient for mental illness. So these situation is very dangers for any person.
Anderson smith
Addiction Recovery Tennessee