BOSTON — The struggle to determine whether Lindsay Clancy’s alleged murder of her three children was premeditated or an act of unbridled Postpartum Psychosis, is shaping into a complex legal battle, according to Boston 25 News Legal Analyst Peter Elikann.
Plymouth County Assistant District Attorney Jennifer Sprague outlined a chilling timeline in court Tuesday. According to Sprague, Clancy planned the strangling murders of her three children, going so far as to check how long her husband would be out of the house while getting food.
Defense Attorney Kevin Reddington informed the court Clancy was admitted to McLean hospital on January 1 and had issues with three medications she was taking at the time of her children’s deaths. Reddington argued the deaths of 5-year-old Cora, 3-year-old Dawson and 8-month-old Callan were the result of unrestrained mental illness.
Unraveling a subject’s mental well-being presents an incredibly difficult legal task, according to Elikann.
“One of the things that’s always hard to sell about any sort of insanity defense is you don’t have to appear delusional, drooling, babbling, just totally out of it,” Elikann told Boston 25 News’ Gene Levanchy. “You can appear rather sharp and have some wherewithal and still be absolutely psychotic and meet the criteria of insanity.”
I hate to use these cliche phrases but this may wind up being a battle of experts,” said Elikann.
Clancy Zoomed into Tuesday’s hearing from a hospital bed. Reddington informed the courtroom that Clancy is now a paraplegic after attempting suicide after jumping out a second-story window following the alleged murders.
Reddington, in outlining the defense, asked the court to refrain from enacting the “inhumane order” of sending Lindsay to jail, arguing that she is “in dire medical condition,” a “danger to herself,” and “suicidal.”
Clancy was on a “significant” dosage of medication, he argued. Prior to the murders, she had been prescribed and taken several medications including Prozac, Ativan, Benadril, Seroquel, Amitriptyline, and Trazodone.
Reddington’s disclosure of Clancy’s medical history was a calculated tactic at a time when there was debate regarding whether Clancy should be ousted from her hospital room and thrown behind bars.
“Should she be held in jail on bail or should she be in a hospital facility because she’s in such a dire medical condition? Remember, bail is not supposed to be a punishment because you haven’t been convicted of anything yet. It’s supposed to be [whether] you’re a risk of flight or not,” explained Elikann.
The judge didn’t set a monetary bail amount, calling her a limited flight risk.
“I think the judge seemed to understand that there was not a risk of flight,” said Elikann.
When asked about the allegations presented in court, Plymouth District Attorney Tim Cruz said, “I’m not a doctor...We’re going to be retaining our own experts to go forward.”
Parsing the separation of Clancy’s image as a loving mother and the horrific acts accounted in court will present the key to winning the case, according to Elikann.
“On the one hand, this is someone that seemed like a loving mother. There were no issues in the past. And then, suddenly she does this psychotic, irrational thing where she supposedly loved her children and did this. There’s something behind ‘gee there had to be some reason.’ And being psychotic could be the reason,” said Elikann.
Clancy is due back in court on May 2. Although she has currently only been charged in the deaths of two of her children, Elikann wouldn’t be surprised to see Callan’s death, who passed away in the hospital days after, eventually added to the record.
“They can change the charges at any time. This is the starting gun. All these cases start out in district court, it’s gonna be indicted up to Superior Court and they can take away charges, they can add charges. It’s a flexible, fluid thing at this point.”
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