A New Hampshire mother, Patina Welch, has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity after throwing her twin babies out of a second-floor window and then jumping herself. The incident resulted in the death of her 4-month-old son after she landed on him during her jump. The second baby, her 4-month-old daughter, was also seriously injured. The woman has entered a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity in the case after a psychologist said she suffered from schizoaffective disorder and was psychotic when she jumped from the window last summer.
WMUR reports that Patina Welch, 29, told investigators after the jump that there were three men with guns in her house trying to kill her babies. Therefore, she had no other choice but to toss the babies from the window and jump herself. As a result of her choice, her 4-month-old son died and her daughter was severely injured.
Police say that after Welch jumped from the window, she ran and hid in a marsh. Family members and a psychiatrist note that the mother has suffered from mental disorders since she was a young teen. She was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder and it is believed she was hallucinating at the time of the baby’s tragic death. The mother says she was trying to “help” her babies and never wanted to hurt them. She was attempting to save them from the non-existent home intruders.
The family notes that Welch was particularly distressed the days leading up to the death. She was becoming increasingly delusional and paranoid. Welch thought someone was trying to hurt her. WCVB notes that the plea of insanity means that “the crimes were the product of a mental disease or defect.” However, winning a case based on insanity is not easy, as attorney David Ruoff points out there is an incredibly high “threshold of proof” for insanity to be established.
“It’s a very high threshold of proof, and in this case, the burden is on the defendant to establish insanity. And there are cases where the state realizes the defense has satisfied that burden, and they can’t rebut it.”
Welch has been undergoing a psychiatric evaluation and a hearing has been scheduled for April 8 to determine if she is dangerous. If Welch is deemed dangerous, she will likely be committed to a state psychiatric ward. If she is not deemed dangerous, there is a possibility of release until her trial.
Welch’s daughter, who just turned 1, is currently in the care of family who say the girl is “improving every day.” Do you think the mother was legally insane when she threw her twin babies out of the second-story window? If so, should she ever be released from the psych ward, even if deemed “not dangerous”?