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Mom pleads not guilty to killing her kids

  |   Feb. 28, 2013 at 1:56 PM
NEW ORLEANS, Feb. 28 (UPI) -- A Louisiana mother accused of killing her two young children has pleaded not guilty to the charges against her by reason of insanity.

Chelsea Thornton, 23, appeared in court Wednesday to contest two counts of first-degree murder for the deaths of her 3-year-old son and 4-year-old daughter, The (New Orleans) Times-Picayune reported. She is also charged with possession of marijuana with intent to distribute.

Thornton, who has a history of mental illness, was found incompetent to stand trial at a hearing in December and is now being treated at East Louisiana Mental Health System in East Feliciana Parish until she is found stable enough to stand trial.

Her attorney, Lionel "Lon" Burns, said his client has been diagnosed with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, mood disorders and psychotic behavior.

In October, Thornton stopped taking her medication and allegedly told a friend that she wished to return to a mental hospital, Burns said.

Shortly thereafter, she allegedly shot her son in the head and submerged him in the bathtub. She then allegedly tried to shoot her daughter, but the gun jammed. She allegedly drowned the girl in the bathtub next to her brother's dead body.

Thornton is scheduled to be back in court before Judge Robin Pittman on March 13.

If convicted, Thornton could face the death penalty.

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