A Texas woman who stoned two of her children to death and seriously injured a third on Mother's Day last year told psychiatrists she was driven to kill by a message from God and that she was sure they would rise again from the dead.
Jurors in the trial of 39-year-old Deanna Laney watched a gruelling video-tape made just days after the murders in which she told a prison psychologist, Phillip Resnick, that she felt she had no choice but to bludgeon her children.
"I felt like I obeyed God and I believe there will be good out of this," she explained in the interview, looking wide-eyed and sometimes smiling. "I feel like he will reveal his power and they will be raised up. They will become alive again."
Ms Laney added that she felt connected to Andrea Yates, the Houston woman who drowned her three children in a bath and who was convicted in 2002. She and Yates, she explained, were chosen to see the end of the world together.
Ms Laney has pleaded insanity in the killings of eight-year-old Joshua and six-year-old Luke, and causing serious injury to 14-month-old Aaron. "She's separated psychologically from all the horror of it and she's simply a woman on a divine mission carrying out the Lord's will," Mr Resnick told the court.
In another videotape made with a different psychiatrist several months after the killings, Ms Laney said she understood God's will after watching Aaron playing in her home. He turned to his mother and was holding a spear. "I knew I was going to have to kill my boys," she said on the tape. After tripping over a stone in her garden, she said she understood that she was going to have to kill them by stoning.
After trying to kill Aaron in his bed but failing, she led the two other boys into the garden where she fatally bludgeoned both of them with rocks.
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies