Woman On Trial for Stoning Children to Death - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

3/29/04

Woman On Trial for Stoning Children to Death

Testimony began Monday in the capital murder trial of a woman accused of stoning her two young sons to death and injuring a third.

Prosecutors in Tyler, Texas said they would not seek the death penalty since mental health experts agreed the woman was insane at the time of the killings.

39-year-old Deanna Laney wept as a jury began hearing shocking details about how she used rocks to bludgeon to death two of her sons and badly injure a third.

"The last thing that Joshua and Luke Laney ever saw on this earth was their mom with a rock over their head. The last thing they ever felt was that rock crashing on their head." said Prosecutor Matt Bingham.

Last Mothers' Day weekend, the bodies of 8-year-old Joshua and 6-year-old Luke were found in their yard. Their skulls were smashed with stones. The baby, 14-month-old Aaron was found alive in his crib, bleeding from a broken skull. He's still recovering.

Laney told a 911 operator God ordered her to do it. Mental health experts concluded Laney suffered from Delusional Psychotic Disorder for at least three years. Her attorneys are trying to prove she's innocent by reason of insanity.

"On May 10th when she saw a child playing with a spear and throwing a rock and squeezing a frog, she believed that the Lord was telling her that she had to kill her children," said Defense Attorney, F.R. "Buck" Files.

Prosecutors hope to prove she knew right from wrong and is guilty, but they're not asking for the death penalty. The jury must now weigh her mental illness with the horrible crimes against her children.

Laney's husband, who was asleep at the time of the attacks, has supported his wife and was in court Monday.

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