As reported on by NBC 4 Columbus, Judge Dennis J. Langer has ruled Claudena Helton — a 30-year-old woman from Dayton, Ohio who confessed to killing her two children in 2017 — not guilty by reason of insanity. Helton was represented by our founder and lead attorney Anthony S. VanNoy.
Legally Insane: Helton Was Unable to Understand Her Actions
According to police, Claudia Helton confessed to shooting her two children in order to save them and protect them from “evil in the world.” When she was found by law enforcement officers, they indicated that Helton was naked and that she was in a trance-like state. Helton was facing the death penalty after being charged with two counts of aggravated murder.
Comprehensive psychological testing was ordered to determine her mental state. After reviewing expert testimony, medical exhibits, reports from three licensed physicians, and other relevant evidence, Judge Langer determined that Helton was legally insane at the time that the deaths of her children occurred. Notably, two out of the three medical evaluations of her mental status assessed Helton as being legally insane.
NBC Columbus reports that Helton is being committed to Summit Behavioral Healthcare — a psychiatric institution located in Cincinnati, Ohio. The length of time she will be committed to the facility will depend on the assessment of medical professionals. Though, regardless, she will be monitored for the rest of her life.
The Standard for Establishing Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity in Ohio
Under Ohio law (R.C. 2901.01(A)(14)), a defendant is only not guilty by reason of insanity if, as a result of severe mental disease or defect, he or she did not and could not know the wrongfulness of his or her actions. When an insanity defense is pursued, a detailed psychological evaluation will be required. As insanity is an ‘affirmative defense’ in Ohio, the burden of proof rests with the defense. As our Dayton criminal defense lawyer Anthony VanNoy established in this case, Helton was unable to understand her actions. Her mental condition made it impossible for her to comprehend the consequences of what she was doing.
Get Help From a Dayton, OH Criminal Defense Attorney Today
At The VanNoy Firm, we are dedicated to defending the rights of the accused. A highly respected criminal defense attorney, Anthony S. VanNoy fights tirelessly to protect his clients. To set up a fully confidential initial consultation, please do not hesitate to contact us today. With an office in Dayton, we represent defendants in Montgomery County and throughout the state of Ohio.