• Expert witnesses say Erika Murray was 'depressed, desensitized'

    By: Robert Goulston

    Updated:

    WORCESTER, Mass. - The trial of the mother accused of killing one of her children and putting others in danger is starting to wrap up in Worcester.

    Erika Murray's trial is now headed for closing arguments after the defense rested, though the prosecution has said it intends to call a final rebuttal witness. 

    Several experts testified on her behalf, including a forensic psychologist who painted a picture of Murray being in a very controlling relationship with her children's father, Ray Rivera. 

    The forensic psychologist told the judge Murray was cut off from bank accounts, pressured into quitting work and became very depressed. Experts say Murray also developed what's called 'severe domestic squalor.' The expert testified it's a condition where Murray did now fully understand how filthy the conditions were inside her Blackstone home.

    "Psychologically abusive behavior really began to escalate and Erika's depression began to worsen," Dr. Lisa Rocchio testified. 

    The prosecution continued building their case in cross-examinations that Murray intentionally neglected her children and caused the death of at least one newborn. Prosecutors showed the defense witness the walls covered in feces during cross.

    But the defense's experts painted a picture of a loaner who lacked self-esteem and was worried the father of her children would leave them. 

    “She gradually became desensitized to her surroundings...she genuinely expressed incomprehension at other people’s shock at the house’s condition," Dr. Judith Edersheim testified.  

    The remains of three children were found inside the home in 2014.  Murray was charged with the deaths of two, but one charge was dropped during the trial after the judge determined there was no evidence the second child was ever alive. 

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