Prosecutor: Phone Data Shows Mom Planned Kids' Deaths

Prosecution argues Lindsay Clancy gave herself the time she needed to strangle kids
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 8, 2023 10:56 AM CST
Prosecutor: Phone Data Shows Mom Planned Kids' Deaths
In this video screen image, Lindsay Clancy with a surgical mask over her face in a hospital appears during her arraignment on charges regarding her three children's deaths at Plymouth District Court on Tuesday in Plymouth, Massachusetts.   (David Ryan/The Boston Globe via AP, Pool)

A Massachusetts mother accused of strangling her three children before fracturing her spine in a suicide attempt was arraigned Tuesday, with a Plymouth County prosecutor arguing Lindsay Clancy planned the killings. Her defense attorney disputes that, saying Clancy's actions were driven by her postpartum mental state. In the New York Times' view, the "arraignment made it clear how difficult it [will] be to untangle Ms. Clancy's mental state from her actions." Assistant District Attorney Jennifer Sprague detailed the prosecution's stance: Data from Clancy's phone shows she used Apple Maps at 4:13pm on Jan. 24 to determine how long it would take her husband to get takeout from a restaurant further from their Duxbury home than where they usually ordered.

At 4:53, she texted her husband, who was in his home office in the basement, asking him to get the food. In a subsequent text she also asked him to stop at CVS for medicine. They spoke about the medication for 14 seconds at 5:34pm, with Patrick Clancy saying it "seemed like [his wife] was in the middle of something," though not in a concerning way. He got home soon after 6pm, was struck by the quiet, and ran upstairs to find his wife had leaped from the window, an act that has left her paralyzed from the waist down, reports the Boston Globe. He then discovered his three children—Cora, 5; Dawson, 3; and Callan, 8 months—in the basement with exercise bands around their necks.

During the arraignment, both sides painted a different picture of Clancy's mental state: The defense said the 32-year-old labor and delivery nurse had been prescribed 13 psychiatric drugs—benzodiazepines, antidepressants, mood stabilizers, and a sleep aid—over the four months before the killings. "Our society fails miserably in treating women with postpartum depression or even postpartum psychosis," her lawyer said in court.

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The prosecution argued she hadn't told her husband she was suffering from postpartum psychosis—though the Times speaks with one expert who says signs of the illness can often be missed by both relatives and doctors—and never mentioned hearing voices to him prior to Monday; in a call from the hospital she told him a man's voice instructed her to kill the children and herself. ABC News reports Sprague painted a picture of a typical day ahead of the murders, involving a trip to the pediatrician's office and time spent building a snowman. "She planned these murders, gave herself the time and privacy needed to commit the murders," Sprague said during the arraignment, per the Globe. "She did so with deliberate premeditation and extreme atrocity and cruelty." (More Lindsay Clancy stories.)

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