Lodinews.com

default avatar
Welcome to the site! Login or Signup below.
|
||
Logout|My Dashboard

Lodi woman found not guilty of attempted murder, child endangerment by reason of insanity

Print
Font Size:
Default font size
Larger font size

Posted: Wednesday, January 8, 2014 6:31 pm

On Wednesday, jurors found a Lodi woman who drove her car with her daughter in the back seat into a moving train not guilty of attempted murder and child endangerment by reason of insanity.

Christine Leach, 45, who was present in San Joaquin County Superior Court when the verdict was announced during the second phase of a trial that began last month, will be sent to a state hospital for treatment in lieu of prison time.

In Dec. 2012, a San Joaquin County jury found Leach guilty of attempted murder and child endangerment as a result of colliding with a Union Pacific train along Pine Street in Oct. 2011.

This week, those same jurors heard testimony from two court-appointed psychiatrists, who evaluated Leach several months after she was booked into San Joaquin County Jail. Based on their testimony, the jury found that Leach was legally insane at the time of the crash.

The verdict means she will be sent to a state hospital for psychiatric treatment in lieu of serving time in prison.

Law enforcement officials have questioned Leach’s mental health since her arrest in Oct. 2011.

In 2012, after being declared incompetent to stand trial, she spent several months receiving psychiatric treatment in a state hospital.

During a pretrial hearing, Lodi Police Officer Misty Springmeyer testified that Leach told her, “I don’t understand why these bad men are chasing me. I tried to live God’s plan and not take our lives.”

On Tuesday, both psychiatrists who evaluated Leach testified that she was insane at the time of the crash.

“At the time I saw her, she clearly was psychotic,” said Dr. Gary Cavanaugh, who diagnosed Leach with psychosis affective disorder. “I don’t think she was capable of understanding the wrongfulness of her actions.”

Cavanaugh testified that he believes Leach was experiencing delusions and hallucinations — more specifically, that people were trying to hurt her — when she drove her car into a moving train in Oct. 2011.

Several hours before the crash, she went to the Lodi Police Department, stating that a dead person was inside or underneath her water heater, according to police reports.

Dr. Anthony Chellson, who diagnosed Leach with paranoid schizophrenia — a disorder similar to psychosis affective disorder, he said — concurred with Cavanaugh’s belief that Leach was legally insane during the crash.

Deputy District Attorney

Angela Hayes questioned both psychiatrists on whether Leach’s decision might have been a suicidal act and not brought on by her diagnosed psychotic state.

Hayes said that Leach’s medical records showed two documented suicide attempts prior to 2011. Leach also had a conversation with her daughter that alluded to suicidal thoughts several days before the crash, Hayes said.

Both Cavanaugh and Chellson testified that they believed Leach was unaware of the dangers of her actions at the time of the crash.

Contact reporter Kristopher Anderson at krisa@lodinews.com.

Rules of Conduct

  • 1 Use your real name. You must register with your full first and last name before you can comment. (And don't pretend you're someone else.)
  • 2 Keep it clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually oriented language.
  • 3 Don't threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
  • 4 Be truthful. Don't lie about anyone or anything. Don't post unsubstantiated allegations, rumors or gossip that could harm the reputation of a person, company or organization.
  • 5 Be nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
  • 6 Stay on topic. Make sure your comments are about the story. Don't insult each other.
  • 7 Tell us if the discussion is getting out of hand. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
  • 8 Share what you know, and ask about what you don't.

Welcome to the discussion.

Video

Popular Stories

Poll

Loading…

Mailing List

Subscribe to a mailing list to have daily news sent directly to your inbox.

  • Breaking News

    Would you like to receive breaking news alerts? Sign up now!

  • News Updates

    Would you like to receive our daily news headlines? Sign up now!

  • Sports Updates

    Would you like to receive our daily sports headlines? Sign up now!

Manage Your Lists