Mother charged with attempted murder of daughter — (Peninsula Daily News)

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The Peninsula Daily News

2006-12-29

by ANDREW BINION

PORT ANGELES — A woman accused of trying to kill herself and her 10-year-old daughter with prescription drugs mixed in grape juice on Christmas Day was charged Thursday with attempted murder.

Bail for Rhonda L. Marchi, 41, of Port Angeles was set at $1 million during her first appearance in Clallam County Superior Court.

The attempted murder charge is in the first degree with premeditation.

Deputy Prosecutor Carol Case called the crime “heinous, egregious and unconscionable.”

“It is imperative that this defendant not have any access to even nonprescription drugs,” Case said.

Marchi told Superior Court Judge George Wood that the bail amount was “absolutely ridiculous” for someone without a criminal history.

“I’ve never been in trouble in my life,” she said.

She also denied that her actions were premeditated.

Wood said the allegations were serious enough to justify the high bail amount.

Family and friends of Marchi sitting in the courtroom for her hearing voiced support for her as she was led back to jail.

“We love you, Rhonda,” and, “We’re all here for you Rhonda,” they said.

Court documents

In the Port Angeles Police certification for probable cause filed with the court, Detective Jesse Winfield wrote that on Tuesday at about 2 a.m. Marchi called 9-1-1.

Marchi reported to the dispatcher that she had deliberately taken a large amount of pills in a suicide attempt and that she also had given a large amount to her daughter.

Court documents said the medications were mixed in grape juice which the girl was ordered to drink.

However, Marchi told the dispatcher that “she was now afraid for her daughter and needed help for her,” Winfield wrote.

Marchi told the dispatcher that she could not move to assist the girl.

When paramedics arrived, they found Marchi and the girl in bed.

The girl was unconscious and could not be revived, the documents say.

The girl, who is not identified in the documents, did not regain consciousness for 24 hours, according to the documents.

Doctors at Olympic Medical Center told investigators the girl had lethal doses of drugs in her blood and it appeared she would have died had she not received medical attention, court documents say.

Marchi was released from Olympic Medical Center on Thursday and was immediately booked into the Clallam County jail.

When interviewed by police, Marchi said that she had taken “a lot of pills” and had ground up pills and put them into a drink for the girl, “who unknowingly drank them at [Marchi’s] direction,” the documents say.

Investigators found six empty prescription bottles on the kitchen countertop, according to the documents.

Included were two mild tranquilizers, a beta blocker, a narcotic painkiller and an antidepressant, the documents say.