A Bronx judge will begin hearing arguments Monday about what caused a woman’s attempted suicide and killing of her two young children, the New York Daily News reports.
Defense attorney Michael Dowd admits that his client, Lisette Bamenga, poisoned her 5-year-old son and 4-month-old daughter. But he argues that she was untreated for postpartum depression.
“What we’re going to find is that in fact this is a woman that was sinking into a real psychiatric abyss,” he told the Daily News.
Prosecutors believe that Bamenga, a 33-year-old former Brooklyn public school teacher, gave her children grape juice mixed with wiper fluid before drowning them in the tub of her Bronx apartment. She then sealed the windows and turned on the gas.
An emergency crew, responding to a reported gas leak, entered the apartment and found her bleeding and the children lifeless.
The district attorney will present two suicide notes and argue that jealously was her motive—a rage ignited by discovering that her boyfriend fathered a child with another woman, according to the Daily News.
Dowd plans to call a psychiatrist to testify that his client had postpartum depression, which can trigger suicidal thoughts following childbirth, the newspaper reports.
“This is a disease in women that has been ignored for centuries, and it is just beginning to be recognized,” he told the Daily News, pointing to a U.S. Preventive Services Task Force report in January that recommended postpartum screening for the first time.
Bamenga turned down a jury trial. If the judge finds her guilty of first-degree murder, she faces life in prison.
SOURCE: New York Daily News | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty