A mother from Oregon who is standing trial for allegedly killing her 2-year-old daughter and slashing her 13-year-old's throat smiled at cameras as she left court on Tuesday, April 14. Her attorneys claim she has "lost her mind."
Jessica Smith, 41, is suspected of killing her toddler, Isabella, in a hotel room in Canon Beach, Oregon, on July 31, 2014, by feeding her antihistamines before drowning her in a bath, the Daily Mail reports. That same day, she allegedly slashed her 13-year-old daughter's throat and wrists with a razor blade and fled the hotel.
The 13-year-old girl was found alive by a hotel worker on Aug. 1, 2014, and told medics her mother had committed the crime, according to court documents. She reportedly stated that her parents had recently separated and she wanted to cut herself, but had her mother help her, CBS News reports. Her dad was reporedly seeking full custody of her and her 2-year-old sister, and they were supposed to visit their dad on the day they were discovered in the hotel room.
Smith, who was found in her car two days after the murder on a remote logging road off of U.S. 26, was arrested and charged with aggravated murder and attempted aggravated murder -- to which she pleaded not guilty on Tuesday on the basis that she suffered a "disordered mental state" at the time.
Her defense team has asked the court to bar the state from seeking the death penalty when Smith stands trial on June 28, 2016.
"The death penalty should be categorically barred by the Eighth Amendment, and certainly abolished for persons suffering from severe mental illness at the time of the offense," wrote Lynne B. Morgan, who is one of Smith's defense attorneys.
Photo Credit: AP via Daily Mail, Clatsop County Jail