God 'commanded' mother to sever baby's arms
February 21, 2006 - 12:46PM
A woman accused of killing her 10-month-old daughter felt that God was commanding her to cut off the baby's arms as well as her own limbs, a state psychiatrist has testified.
Dena Schlosser saw a TV news story about a boy being mauled by a lion and thought it was a sign of the apocalypse, a delusion that led her to sever the arms of her baby, said Dr David Self.
"She felt she was basically commanded, in essence, to cut Maggie's arms off and her own arms off, and her legs and her head, and in some way to give them to God," said Self, who evaluated Schlosser in the months after her arrest.
Police responding to an emergency call in 2004 found Schlosser in her living room, covered in blood, still holding a knife and listening to a church hymn. She had sliced deep into her own shoulder and chopped the arms off of her baby.
Schlosser, 37, has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity, and her lawyers are trying to prove she did not know right from wrong when Margaret, also known as Maggie, was killed.
Prosecutors, who are not seeking the death penalty, argue Schlosser knew what she was doing and should be sent to prison for life. If found not guilty, Schlosser would be hospitalised.
Schlosser was diagnosed with postpartum psychosis in the months following Maggie's birth. After her baby's death, she was diagnosed with manic depression.
"Just because someone is diagnosed with some mental illness, it does not mean that they're insane," Assistant District Attorney Curtis Howard said to Self, who agreed.
The psychiatrist testified that Schlosser was angry about being in jail and had no idea why she was there.
"She didn't understand why she was being locked up in jail for following God's will," Self said.
The defence was to continue its case tomorrow morning.
God's wonders never cease to amaze…