[Editor's note: Some readers may find the information in the story below disturbing.]
During a lengthy and graphic arraignment on Tuesday, prosecutors said that Lindsay Clancy planned the murders of her children, while her defense attorney chalked the tragedy up to overmedication and mental illness.
The 32-year-old Duxbury, Massachusetts, mother faced a judge for the first time during the arraignment, joining the court hearing virtually from a hospital bed, where she was seen masked and with what appeared to be some sort of neck brace. Her lawyer said she is in dire medical condition and isn’t expected to regain the function in her legs.
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New details emerge at Lindsay Clancy's arraignment
Prosecutors did not hesitate and spared no details as they explained to the court what they say happened on Jan. 24 – the day that the three Clancy children were allegedly strangled by their mother with an exercise rope, who authorities say then cut herself and jumped out a window while her husband ran errands that she requested and researched.
She has been charged with two counts of murder, three counts of strangulation and three counts of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, the exercise bands that prosecutors said were still tied around the children's necks when their father found them after returning home.
In court Tuesday, Prosecutors outlined a chilling series of events, indicating that Lindsay Clancy planned the murders of her three young children, gave herself the time to commit those murders and then killed them in their own home.
Patrick Clancy's 911 call
During Tuesday's hearing, prosecutors detailed how the children's father, Patrick Clancy, returned home on the night of the killings and found his three children.
After arriving home from a trip to the drug store and to pick up takeout, prosecutors say Patrick did not see or hear his wife or their children, so he called Lindsay's cell phone looking for them. He went to their bedroom and found it locked. When he was able to get inside, he saw blood on the floor and an open window. His wife was on the ground outside the house, with wounds on her wrists and neck. She was conscious, and Patrick asked Lindsay, "What did you do?" She replied that she had tried to kill herself by jumping out of the window.
During the ensuing 911 call, prosecutors say Patrick can be heard asking his wife where the kids are. She replied, "In the basement." When emergency medical technicians arrived, Patrick went to look for his kids, and can be heard on the 911 call entering the home and the basement and then "screaming in agony and shock" as he found his children, prosecutors say. Cora, 5, and Callan, 8 months old, were on the floor in the den area of the finished basement, and 3-year-old Dawson was alone on the floor in his father's home office.
"Each child still had the exercise band used to strangle them tied around their necks when their father found them," prosecutors said. Patrick removed the bands and could be heard begging his children to breathe. He continued to scream uncontrollably, "She killed the kids."
Cora and Dawson were declared dead at the scene. Callan was taken by medical helicopter to an area hospital, where he remained on life support for several days before passing away.
Duxbury mother paralyzed
Clancy pleaded not guilty, and her lawyer, Kevin Reddington, noting that the suicide attempt left her unable to walk, said what happened "clearly was a product of mental illness," and asked that she be kept in a medical facility while she recovers.
She remains hospitalized with several broken bones in her back and rib cage. Reddington said Tuesday that she is paralyzed from the waist down, adding it's unlikely she'll ever regain motion in her lower body.
The judge ordered Clancy held in her current hospital until doctors clear her to go to a new facility for rehabilitation, and once she's allowed to go to the new facility, that she remain there except for medical care. She wasn't held on any cash bail. She's due back in court May 2.
Did Lindsay Clancy's medications play a role?
Clancy's attorney said that she checked herself into a psychiatric hospital three weeks before the deaths, which Lasell University professor Kellie Wallace said "indicates someone who's struggling." He has said she was on numerous medications and that likely played a role in what happened on Jan. 24.
"The fact that she was turned away so quickly to me indicates that her insurance ran out," said Wallace. "Not necessarily the providers thought it was safe for her to leave, which is what happens in a lot of these situations."
"This is not a situation that was planned, by any means," Reddington said Tuesday. "This is a situation that was clearly a result of mental illness."
Prosecutors on Tuesday, though, said that Clancy, "using an erasable whiteboard, because she was still temporarily intubated," asked, "Do I need an attorney?" It indicated, according to the prosecution, that she knew she'd slain her kids and "she had the clarity, focus, and mental acumen to focus on protecting her own rights and interests."