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Bangor Daily News
Nov 8, 2002
BANGOR – A 40-year-old woman who tried to kill her 7-year-old son and herself was found not guilty of attempted murder Wednesday in Penobscot County Superior Court. In a jury-waived trial, Justice Joseph Jabar ruled that because Dianna Jordan had tried to make her son vomit at least twice before calling 911, she had renounced her intent to harm him and was not guilty.
Jabar also ruled that Jordan did not suffer from any abnormality of the mind on March 19, 2001, when she gave her son 60 1-milligram tablets of clonidine, a drug used to treat attention deficit disorder, and then took an overdose of prescription drugs herself.
The defendant, her mother and friends gasped aloud then burst into tears when the judge announced his verdict at the conclusion of the one-day trial. Jordan sobbed uncontrollably as they surrounded her after the verdict was announced.
The frail-looking blonde wept throughout her testimony as she described for the court a childhood that included sexual and physical abuse. She also described her relationships as an adult with men, including her son’s father. Jordan described for the court the many services she had sought for her son since moving to Bangor in 1996.
The boy was diagnosed with hyperactivity and attention deficit disorders. He received speech therapy when he was 21/2 years old because he was not yet speaking in full sentences, and he was treated for behavioral disorders as he got older. While her son received treatment, Jordan was treated for depression, she said, and took Prozac and other anti-depressants.
Jordan testified that the day before she gave her son an overdose of the pills he took for ADHD, her brother told her he had found her son and his son in what appeared to be a sexually abusive situation. She told the judge that her brother felt his son had been victimized by her son, and that upset her.
On the morning of March 19, 2001, Jordan said, she made a few phone calls to her counselor and her son’s school before collapsing onto her bed and crying uncontrollably.
“I stopped crying all of a sudden and knew what I had to do,” she said, stopping frequently to regain her composure. “I couldn’t have anybody thinking anything like that about my baby. I was afraid for him. I got up from the bed like I was on a mission. I knew that I had to take him to heaven.”
Jordan then gave her son the pills, took some herself, and waited for them to take effect, she said. She put him on her bed, turned on a Christian music radio station, but got up several times to write notes to her family, including one asking that she and her son be buried together.
She testified that she became worried that it was taking so long for them to fall asleep and she was “afraid he was suffering.” Jordan said she took her son into the bathroom at least twice and stuck her fingers down his throat in failed attempts to make him vomit. When that failed, she called 911.
Outside the courtroom, Deputy District Attorney Michael Roberts said that according to hospital records, Jordan did not give her son enough pills to kill him nor did she take a lethal overdose herself.
According to defense attorney Dale Thistle of Newport, Jordan spent seven months in Acadia Hospital after the incident and is continuing therapy. Her son, now 8, lives with her sister after being removed from her custody 19 months ago.
Visitation and custody issues concerning her son have not been resolved, he said.