A woman who claimed demons told her to set her baby afire was yesterday found guilty of murder as jurors rejected her insanity defense.
The jury wasted no time and returned the unanimous verdict against Phillipa Marshall, 41, for the murder of one-year-old Philicia in less than an hour.
After receiving the jury’s verdict, Turner revoked the bail of the mother of two and remanded her into custody until September 19 for the penalty phase of her trial.
There was no dispute that Marshall grabbed the sleeping child and doused her with gasoline before setting her afire in a locked bedroom on December 28, 2017, at her home in Faith Gardens, and that the child died from complications from the burn wounds on February 14, 2018.
But her lawyer, Bjorn Ferguson, argued that she should not be found criminally liable because she is mentally ill.
While Marshall exercised her constitutional right to remain silent, Ferguson called psychiatrist Dr. Kirk Christie, who treated his client after the incident, as a witness.
Christie testified that he diagnosed Marshall as schizophrenic based on her claim that she had been hearing demons since 2014.
Although Marshall told him that she had seen two psychiatrists, Christie was unable to confirm this information because she declined to provide her doctors’ names.
Prosecutor Cephia Pinder-Moss said that Marshall was unable to provide the names of her mental health providers because they didn’t exist.
She described Marshall’s mental illness as a “recent fabrication”.
Pinder-Moss said that Marshall waited until her husband was asleep with their other two children before she took the infant into the bedroom, locked the door and set her ablaze.
Turner left four verdicts for the jury to consider: not guilty by reason of insanity, murder, manslaughter due to diminished responsibility and manslaughter.
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