Memphis, TN — A mother charged with stabbing her two young sons to death told police she is a paranoid schizophrenic and that voices told her to kill her boys.
Jamina Briggs also told police officers that she was sorry about the stabbings. The 29-year-old was arrested after officers found her sons, 6-year-old Nicholas and 23-month-old Jeremiah, lying face down on a couch with multiple stab wounds. The children were taken to Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital where they died.
Briggs was charged with two counts of first-degree murder last Thursday. She has a criminal record that includes two guilty pleas for domestic assaults for fights with her boyfriend and mother, according to the Huffington Post.
Briggs’ lawyer, Gerald Skahan, said his client is awaiting mental evaluation at the Memphis Mental Health Institute.
“We did enter an order today [Friday] for a mental evaluation. She is currently in a mental hospital and I’m sure they’re doing that for her,” Skahan said. “Her stability is probably pretty fragile right now. I just want to find out more about her, tell her when her next court date is, and see what I can do to help her.”
The Department of Children’s Services said Jamina Briggs did not have custody of Nicholas, but did have custody of Jeremiah. She had also lost custody of her 9-year-old daughter. DCS spokesman Rob Johnson said the agency is investigating why Nicholas was with his mother instead of the relative who had custody.
State Representative John Deberry said the deaths could have been prevented.
“At this point what we need are some answers as to why these vulnerable children were obviously in the custody, in the hands or in the proximity of someone who should not have had them,” he said.
Jamina Briggs was scheduled to appear in court Friday, but it has been postponed until August 16.