The Massachusetts mother who allegedly killed her three children is suffering from her spinal cord injuries and in a “flat” emotional state because of the cocktail of prescription medications she's on, medical professionals claim.
Lindsay Clancy, 32, is “extremely fatigued” and "in pain" after she got debilitating spinal cord injuries from plunging out her bedroom window, Dr. Paul Zeizel, a psychologist hired by Clancy’s attorney to evaluate her, told the Daily Mail.
“She is flat as a board — she’s wondering what is going on," Zeizel explained. "There is not a lot of emoting, though she did shed tears yesterday during the court hearing.”
This “flat” demeanor she is experiencing could be caused by a combination of pain and psychotic meds, in addition to her depression, Zeizel said.
Clancy has been hospitalized since jumping out of a window at her Duxbury home on Jan. 24.
On the day of the incident, Clancy claimed she heard a man’s voice telling her to kill her children — Cora, 5, Dawson, 3, and Callan, 8 months — before she strangled her daughter and two sons using exercise ropes.
Zeizel stated it remains a “conundrum” how she ended up being on more than a dozen prescription drugs, including Prozac and Seroquel, which her attorney said can have a side effect of homicidal ideation.
He added that people experiencing psychosis or schizophrenia may hear voices in their heads and “they can come and go” and are “unpredictable.” He said it is also entirely possible that she was behaving “normally,” countering prosecutors' claims it appeared nothing was wrong with her before her children’s deaths.
According to experts, the male voice she claimed told her to kill her children is an example of “command hallucinations.”
Zeizel told the Boston Globe that the voices are “telling you to do things, telling you things that are malevolent, and you believe those voices” and people with severe mental illness can still “present as being lucid and linear and clear-thinking.”
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Dr. Liza Gold, who has not treated Clancy, spoke with the Boston Globe and said “the fact that you’re psychotic doesn’t mean you’re suddenly incapable of any rational thought altogether.”
She said “it’s not unusual to find a common hallucination” in a murder-suicide case, saying, “You hear a voice telling you to do something. It repeats over and over. ‘You’re a terrible mother. Your children are going to hell unless you kill them now.’”
While prosecutors are claiming Clancy made plans to murder her children, Dr. Jeffrey S. Jonofsky, director of the Psychiatry and Law Program at Johns Hopkins Medicine, said “planning can happen along with delusions. The mere fact that they planned it does not exclude an insanity plea.”
Clancy was also taking benzodiazepines, and Jonofsky, who has not treated the defendant, noted that “it is possible that withdrawal from chronic benzodiazepine use could cause psychotic symptoms, including auditory hallucinations,” the Boston Globe reported.
Assistant District Attorney Jennifer Sprague said Clancy had asked if she needed an attorney on Jan. 27, the day Callan died, which shows she had “the clarity, focus and mental acumen to focus on protecting her own rights and interests.”
Experts, however, say she still could have been suffering from delusions at the same time.
Clancy faces charges of strangulation, homicide and assault and battery with a dangerous weapon for the death of her three children. A probable cause hearing is currently scheduled for May 2.
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