PLYMOUTH, Mass. — A Duxbury mother who prosecutors say strangled her three young children with exercise bands before attempting to take her own life was ordered Tuesday to remain hospitalized under police guard until further notice.
Lindsay Clancy, 32, was Zoomed into Plymouth District Court and arraigned on charges of murder, strangulation or suffocation, and assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, an exercise band, in the deaths of her 5-year-old daughter, Cora, her 3-year-old son, Dawson, and her 8-month-old baby, Callan, on Jan. 24.
Just days after jumping from a window in an attempt to take her own life, on Jan. 27, Lindsay signaled for a whiteboard upon waking up in her Boston hospital bed and wrote, “Do I need an attorney,” Assistant District Attorney Jennifer Sprague said in court.
As Sprague spoke on Tuesday, Clancy lay in a hospital bed, wearing a white mask and a neck brace, with her eyes opening and closing as Sprague outlined the charges against her. Defense attorney Kevin Reddington said Clancy is now a paraplegic after attempting suicide on the day of the killings by jumping out of a second-floor window of her home.
On the morning of Jan. 24, Sprague said Lindsay took Cora to a pediatrician appointment, and that there were no issues with her demeanor or behavior. She then returned home to play with Cora and Dawson out in the snow before going inside to order takeout.
Sprague said Lindsay used maps on her phone to determine how long it would take to go to and from a restaurant and then texted her husband, Patrick Clancy, who was working in his home office, to pick up the order.
Patrick agreed to pick up the food and while he was gone, Lindsay used the exercise bands to strangle her kids in the basement of the home, according to Sprague. When Patrick returned, he noticed an eerie silence and he saw blood on the floor next to an open window and called 911. With the emergency dispatcher on the line, Patrick encountered his wife, who had cuts on her wrists and neck. She also admitted to jumping out of the open window.
He asked her: “What did you do?” before asking his wife where the children were, Sprague said in recounting the 911 call.
Lindsay told him their children were “in the basement,” Sprague said.
“She knew what she had done,” Sprague said.
Patrick then was heard “screaming in agony and shock” as he located his children, face down on the floor, with the bands used to strangle them tied around their necks, Sprague said.
“He yells out, ‘She killed the kids!’” the prosecutor said.
Patrick removed the bands, begged his children to breathe, and then started screaming uncontrollably, Sprague said.
Cora and Dawson were pronounced dead the hospital. Callan died days later.
“She created the situation, and she used Apple Maps to make sure she would have enough time to strangle each child,” Sprague said. “She planned these murders and gave herself the time and privacy to commit these murders.”
In the days leading up to the children’s deaths, Sprague said Lindsay meticulously detailed her activities and never showed signs that she was hallucinating or delusional. On Jan. 23, she did write in her phone that she had a “touch of postpartum anxiety.”
Lindsay, who admitted herself to McLean Hospital on Jan. 1 before discharging herself on Jan. 5, kept detailed daily medication logs in a diary and noted she was having issues with three medications she was taking at the time of her children’s deaths.
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.”
Society fails to treat women with postpartum depression, Reddington said.
“It’s medicate, medicate, medicate,” he said.
Clancy was on “significant” dosage of medication, he argued. Prior to the events of Jan. 24, she had been prescribed and taken several medications including Prozac, Ativan, Benadril, Seroquel, Amitriptyline, and Trazodone.
His client was “thoroughly destroyed by these medications,” Reddington said and, her mental condition worsened.
“She even told her husband that she had suicidal thoughts,” he said.
Reddington countered the prosecution’s argument claiming that Lindsay killed her children methodically, and with intent.
“This is not a situation that was planned by any means. This is a situation that clearly is a product of mental illness,” he said.
Clancy suffered several spinal fractures when she jumped from the open window, has had surgery while hospitalized, and is now paralyzed, Reddington said.
“She can’t move. She can’t get off the bed. She can’t walk. She can’t even go to the bathroom,” Reddington said. “Her emotional state is so bad there is a significant fear of suicide. She has to have somebody sit in the room 24/7 to watch her.”
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.”
Clancy will remain hospitalized until her treatment is complete, and the judge didn’t set a momentary bail amount, calling her a limited flight risk.
She is due back in court on May 2.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.
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