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News Channel 3 WTKR.com
Posted on: 9:02 pm, November 23, 2013
by Jackie Morlock
Virginia Beach, Va. – A woman was arrested Saturday and charged with attempted murder after police say she used prescription drugs to try to poison two children Friday.
Lorita M. Aiken, 26, was arraigned by a Virginia Beach judge Monday morning. She was denied bond and ordered to have a psychiatric evaluation by a judge at another hearing Tuesday.
Police say Aiken tried to poison herself and the children at her home in the 5100 block of Richard Road in Virginia Beach. And, police say she did it by putting prescription drugs in their food.
Detective Jones told the court on Tuesday he found crushed powder on cereal, ice cream, apple sauce and candy bars inside the home. Detective Jones also told the court he found 24 empty prescription pill bottles.
Prosecutors questioned the Virginia Beach mom about medications she takes.
Aiken says she has a history with depression and has been seeing a general doctor every six months or so for the last couple of years.
Ativan, Celexa, Wellbutrin and Ambien are just a few of the medications Aiken told the court she’s been prescribed.
Detective Jones also says Aiken admitted to him she tried to take her and her children’s lives and that she thought about doing it before.
According to prosecutors, Aiken’s children are in the care of their father.
Police tell NewsChannel 3 they responded to Aiken’s home the night prior to the incident. They say a third party person called them saying they thought Aiken and the children’s father may have been arguing or in some type of altercation. But, when they got there, police say the father wasn’t home and the children were in bed.
The next morning, police say, the children’s father called them saying he came home from work to find Aiken and the children unresponsive.
Aiken and the two children were taken to the hospital to be treated. In an update Monday, police said the children had been released.
Aiken is now at the Virginia Beach Correctional Center while this case is under investigation.
Aiken has been charged with two counts of attempted first degree murder and two counts of altering food, drink, drugs, etc.
Stay with NewsChannel 3 as we bring you more on this developing story.
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The Virginian Pilot
Jun 5, 2015
VIRGINIA BEACH – Lorita Melisa Aiken told the psychologist she wasn’t trying to murder her two young children when she fed them a cocktail of prescription drugs ground up in applesauce and ice cream.
Rather, she said, she was trying to protect them from her husband “by putting them to sleep to wake up in heaven with God.”
It felt like an out-of-body experience, like she wasn’t in control of herself, Thomas Sugden said in court this week, describing his conversation months earlier with Aiken. He said her explanation and other evidence led him to conclude she was insane that night in November 2013.
Circuit Judge Leslie Lilley agreed Thursday. He found Aiken not guilty by reason of insanity on six counts, including attempted murder. Aiken now may spend months or years in a state hospital undergoing mental health evaluations to determine when – or if – she can be released.
Testimony during the three-day trial painted the 27-year-old Aiken as a loving mother who lost herself in a spiral of stress and depression.
She married her college sweetheart and had two children while in and just after college, according to court testimony. She wanted to be a stay-at-home mother but got a job in part because her family needed the money, testified her husband, Jeff Aiken.
Later, she was studying for her master’s degree while working full time and handling the behavioral problems of her son, who was diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Chronic pain after dental surgery added to her prescription cocktail of sleep aids, muscle relaxants and drugs to fight depression and anxiety.
She wouldn’t communicate, easily lost her patience, slept too much and couldn’t remember things she’d done, her husband testified. One of her doctors said that, in the weeks before the incident, Lorita Aiken had formed a suicide plan. The doctor asked her to bring back some of her medications.
She didn’t return them, the doctor said.
One morning, Aiken returned home from a night shift to find Lorita Aiken and the children – then ages 4 and 5 – drugged and unresponsive. The family betta fish was dead in a sink, Jeff Aiken’s surfboard and other belongings had been burned, and signs in red ink reading “You will never hurt me or my children again!!!!!!!!” were hung around the house. The children recovered and were released from the hospital the next day.
Annette Miller, a public defender, said Lorita Aiken did not know right from wrong at the time. Under the law, Miller said, that would qualify her as insane.
“There is no doubt of what she did,” Miller said. “The question is, ‘Why?’ ”
Prosecutor Wendy Alexander pointed to a diary in which Aiken drew a picture of a gun and accused her husband of abuse. She wrote that she wanted to make sure her husband’s genes would never be passed on through their children and apologized to God. Alexander argued such planning showed Aiken was making conscious decisions.
“She was so angry at her husband that she wanted to destroy everything he loved,” Alexander said. “That is not insanity, judge. That is rage.”
Two psychologists testified: Sugden for the defense concluded Aiken was insane, and David Henry Keenan for the prosecution found her sane.
Lilley said both were credible, and the case was one of the most difficult he had ever had to decide. He called Aiken’s journal “haunting” and said he couldn’t imagine the pain her family has been through.
“If you stop and think about it, it makes you want to cry,” he said.
Elisabeth Hulette, 757-222-5097, firstname.lastname@example.org