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The pregnant mom accused of trying to murder her three children by driving them into the Florida surf is stable enough to be placed on conditional release — and shouldn't be involuntarily committed, defense doctors testified Wednesday. A Volusia County judge is deciding what to do with Ebony Wilkerson, 33, who pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity last week. Prosecutors had agreed to her plea and dropped second-degree attempted murder charges in the March incident in Daytona Beach.
Psychiatrists have said Wilkerson suffered a psychotic break when she tried unsuccessfully to drown her children. Bystanders charged into the water and freed the children, ages 10, 9 and 3, from the bobbing minivan. Psychiatrist Dr. Jeffrey Danziger told the court Wednesday that Wilkerson has been receiving treatment and is no longer mentally ill. He added that he wouldn't "put people in the hospital when they are doing well," according to NBC affiliate WESH.
The continued testimony comes after assistant public defender Julie Ann Morris caused a commotion Tuesday when she collapsed at the podium. During the same hearing, the defense team also said Wilkerson was willing to to be sterilized to avoid the possibility of another mental breakdown. The one in March as well as one in 2005 was partly driven by her pregnancies, they claim. It wasn't immediately clear if the judge would need to approve a tubal ligation.
Morris returned to the courtroom Wednesday. Another defense doctor, Antonio Canaan, testified that Wilkerson should eventually be reunited with her children, but with state supervision. As part of her bail condition, she was ordered to have no physical contact with them.