Mom Ebony Wilkerson was insane when she tried to murder her three children by driving the family's packed minivan into the Florida surf in March, a judge ruled Friday. Wilkerson agreed to plead not guilty by reason of insanity as part of a deal with prosecutors, who also decided to drop three counts of second-degree attempted murder against her, NBC affiliate WESH reported. Wilkerson waived her right to a jury trial.
A Volusia County court judge made her decision after reviewing doctors' reports. A defense psychologist said Wilkerson suffered a psychotic break when she locked her minivan's doors and attempted to plunge the car into the Atlantic Ocean in Daytona Beach. Bystanders stopped her in time, and helped to rescue her children — ages 3, 9 and 10. She was also pregnant at the time.
Days earlier, Wilkerson told police in her hometown of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, that her husband raped her in a hotel room. She fled to Florida, where her sister called 911 and said Wilkerson was having a breakdown. Wilkerson was 28 weeks pregnant when she was arrested and gave birth to a baby boy in jail.
She was allowed released on bond in May on the condition that she can't see her children, and has been receiving outpatient treatment. The judge must still decide whether she should be hospitalized or if she can get community release with oversight by the court.
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