A California woman, convicted in the stabbing deaths of her three daughters, was not sane at the time of the killings, her attorney told a judge Dec. 1.
Carol Ann Coronado, 32, was diagnosed with “major depressive disorder” following her May 2014 arrest, her attorney Stephen Allen told Compton Superior Court Judge Ricardo Ocampo, according to the Daily Breeze.
Ocampo convicted Coronado of the three murders Nov. 30 after her defense asked him to hear the case instead of a jury. Carol was acquitted of having tried to kill her mother that same day, according to an earlier story from the Daily Breeze.
The bodies of her three daughters were found in her home in Carson, California, on May 20, 2014.
Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney Emily Spear argued at trial that the murders of the three girls — Sophia, 2, Yazmine, 16 months, and Xenia, 2 months — were premeditated.
Spear said Carol had also planned to kill her husband, Rudy Coronado, and had laid out knives in the kitchen of her home to carry out the plan. Spear said Coronado likely planned to kill herself as well.
“She intended to take out her entire family,” Spear said in court, according to the Daily Breeze. “She arranged the knives in an overall plot to take out Rudy.”
Spear also displayed a crime scene photograph of the girls laid out on a bed, saying they had been put there for Rudy to find them.
All three girls had their throats slit, according to court testimony. Sophia and Xenia had also been stabbed in the heart and Yazmine had reportedly been hit in the head with a hammer.
Carol was upset, believing that Rudy was planning to leave her, Spear argued.
“She has a clear motive,” the prosecutor said. “She hurt [her husband] the only way she can. She takes out his children.”
Spear added that Carol’s plan was interrupted when her mother, Julie Piercey, arrived at the home and found out what she had done. Rudy was reportedly across the street working on his truck at the time.
According to court testimony, Piercey managed to disarm Carol of a “big butcher knife” and then run across the street to grab her son-in-law for help. When they returned, Carol shoved a knife into her own chest, puncturing a lung.
Ocampo found Carol guilty of premeditated murder with a special circumstances allegation that she committed multiple murders. Now, the judge must decide whether Carol insane at the time that she killed her three daughters.
Allen told the judge Dec. 1 that he plans to call three doctors who will testify that Carol was not sane at the time of the murders. Two treated the woman after her arrest, and one is an expert in postpartum psychosis, according to Allen.
Ocampo’s decision in the sanity phase will determine whether Carol goes to prison for life or if she is sent to a mental health institution where she would undergo treatment and might have a chance for eventual release.
Rudy told the Daily Breeze following his wife’s guilty verdict that he believed his wife was sick and needed help.
“She lost her mind. She lost her mind,” he said. “It tears me apart because it’s my little girls that I lost. I lost my whole family, my three little girls. And Carol, she didn’t mean to do that. I strongly believe that.”
He testified on his wife’s behalf Dec. 1.
Rudy said the morning of the killings, Carol had “screamed like a psycho” and had a “flat” look on her face.
He said that later in the day, after the bodies were discovered, his wife “was completely insane.”
“That was not Carol," he testified. "... The look in her face told me she was completely out of character."