R. Todd Bennett, P.C.
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Death penalty considered in Houston nurse's murder trial

Everybody has made an irrational choice that they cannot explain. Sometimes the choice is relatively inconsequential and, other times, the choice can have long-lasting repercussions. One Houston, Texas, woman is facing the possibility of the death penalty after she reportedly committed an act of murder and kidnapping out of desperation. The woman's attorney indicated that the circumstances of this criminal case do not warrant such a punishment.

According to reports, the Houston woman was completely distressed over losing a child as a result of a miscarriage. She told her fiancé that she had their baby, despite the miscarriage, and was looking for a baby she could bring home. At this point, the nurse went to the local hospital and shot a 28-year-old new mother, apparently, in order to take her child. The woman then took the baby, brought the baby boy to her sister's house and told her sister that she intended to adopt the child.

Eventually, the child's mother passed away as a result of her wounds. The boy was recovered safely and returned to family. Authorities have leveled charges of capital murder and abduction against the nurse.

Knowing that the nurse was distraught at the time of the incident, the woman's attorney will explore the possibility of pleading not guilty by reason of mental insanity. For this reason, the woman will undergo a mental health screening.

It has also been pointed out that this is the nurse has no criminal record, so it may be difficult to prove that she will be a future danger. In order to secure capital punishment as a sentence, it must be proven in court that the accused individual poses a future threat. Furthermore, the woman's ex-husband said he could not believe his former wife would shoot someone.

The hope is that the accused woman will receive a fair trial, especially considering the amount of publicity this case has generated. In highly publicized cases, it is easy to assume the worst about those accused. Hopefully the woman's defense works to gather the evidence necessary to achieve an equitable result. Even though the burden of proof required for the "insanity defense" is rather high, it could be the appropriate way to resolve the case.

Source: U.S. News and World Report, "Lawyer: Mom accused in fatal baby abduction upset," Juan A. Lozano, April 19, 2012

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