Judge does not rule in case to free Chelsea Thornton from jail

Judge does not rule in case to free Chelsea Thornton from jail

NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - A judge did not rule in the case of woman who was found not guilty by way of insanity for the murder of her two children.

Chelsea Thornton appeared in court Thursday (Sept. 12) after her family made a motion to have her returned home.

An expert witness and psychologist from Tulane University took the stand and says she has had seen Thornton over two dozen times and changed her medication which has shown promising results to her mental health.

Thornton was arrested in October 2012 after the New Orleans Police Department says she admitted to killing her three-year-old son and four-year-old daughter in their Gert Town apartment.

Investigators say Thornton shot her son in the head and then attempted to shoot her daughter when her gun jammed. She instead drowned the daughter in the bathtub.

Thornton pled not guilty by way of insanity and was tried on a non-capital case.

Two forensic psychiatrists say Thornton was in the grip of a depression-fueled psychotic episode and could not make distinctions between right and wrong.

She was eventually found not guilty in 2017 in a bench trial.

Thornton’s family says she has a history of mental illness and being treated at a mental hospital for bipolar schizophrenia before her children were killed.

According to the Law Office of Lionel Burns, the family is now asking that she be released back into the community and monitored by the Orleans Mental Health Court Program.

However, the Orleans District Attorney’s Office is opposing the recommendation and any release from the state’s hospital.

The state’s medical review panel is also recommending that Thornton be placed in a group home setting.

The judge chose not to rule until he hears from more experts.

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