your connection to The Boston Globe

Doctor says father, church responsible in baby's death

McKINNEY, Texas -- Dena Schlosser didn't know right from wrong when she killed her 10-month-old baby by cutting off the child's arms, and she wasn't given the medical help she needed before the killing, a psychiatrist testified yesterday at her murder trial.

Schlosser, 37, was arrested in November 2004 when police found her soaked in blood, holding a knife, and listening to a hymn as her baby, Margaret, known as Maggie, lay dying in her crib. Schlosser also had cut herself deeply in one shoulder.

People close to Schlosser had missed obvious signs of severe mental illness, Dr. William Reid testified.

''Everything I've seen indicates to me that she did not know what she was doing was wrong, and she did not know right from wrong," said Reid, the final defense witness.

The defense argues that Schlosser was insane when Maggie was killed and needs hospitalization.

The prosecution holds that while she may have mental illness, she knew what she was doing was wrong and should be sent to prison for life.

Another psychiatrist testified Monday that Schlosser said she was commanded by God to cut Maggie's arms off, as well as her own arms, legs, and head.

''What had happened did not have meaning for her like it did for others," said that witness, Dr. David Self.

Reid said Schlosser's husband and church were partly responsible for her not receiving the care she needed.

The pastor of Water of Life Church in Plano, which the Schlosser family attended several times a week, has testified that God is the only cure for mental illness.

Reid also questioned why a hospital had earlier released Schlosser less than 24 hours after she abandoned Maggie by running away from the family's apartment. Police found her two miles away.

''Ms. Schlosser was kept from adequate treatment, both in terms of getting and taking her medication and seeing doctors and psychiatrists, both when she needed it and I believe when she wanted it," Reid testified.

Schlosser's husband, John, has testified that he thought she was getting better and it didn't occur to him to get treatment for her.

Schlosser was diagnosed with postpartum psychosis not long after Maggie was born and with manic depression after Maggie's death.

She had stopped taking anti-psychotic medication about four months before Maggie was killed.

Today (free)
Yesterday (free)
Past 30 days
Last 12 months
 Advanced search / Historic Archives