Mother Attempts to Kill her Two Children & Self: Also Sets House on Fire

Paragraphs two through four read:  "The 33-year-old had two children, a security job at the General Motors Technical Center and bought a house in Warren with her boyfriend."

"But last fall, new medications for her anxiety and depression — coupled with her boyfriend's job loss, an impending shift change at work and the threat of losing her home to foreclosure — may have proved too stressful, Friedly's mother, Eve Coccaro told The Detroit News on Tuesday."

"Now, the Fraser High School graduate is facing up to life in prison on allegations she took her children out of school early Nov. 18, slipped them a sedative in their hot chocolate and set her bed on fire in a suicide attempt. Her son, now 14, and daughter, now 11, escaped and called 911 before neighbors pulled Friedly from the burning home."

http://www.detnews.com/article/20090708/METRO/907080350/Accused-mom–not-in-right-mind

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Accused mom 'not in right mind'

Plea unlikely in kids' alleged drugging, arson

Christine Ferretti / The Detroit News

Mount Clemens — Despite growing up in a family that struggled with alcoholism and mental illness, relatives say Tanya Friedly overcame many obstacles and appeared to be on the right track.

The 33-year-old had two children, a security job at the General Motors Technical Center and bought a house in Warren with her boyfriend.

But last fall, new medications for her anxiety and depression — coupled with her boyfriend's job loss, an impending shift change at work and the threat of losing her home to foreclosure — may have proved too stressful, Friedly's mother, Eve Coccaro told The Detroit News on Tuesday. nt

Now, the Fraser High School graduate is facing up to life in prison on allegations she took her children out of school early Nov. 18, slipped them a sedative in their hot chocolate and set her bed on fire in a suicide attempt. Her son, now 14, and daughter, now 11, escaped and called 911 before neighbors pulled Friedly from the burning home.

"I didn't see any warning signs," said Coccaro, 55. "If she'd have called for help, I would have taken the kids. I didn't know she was that desperate."

Friedly, who is charged with two counts of assault with intent to commit murder and arson, appeared in Macomb Circuit Court on Tuesday for a pretrial conference. Her attorney David Pietroski said he plans to file motions to obtain an independent psychiatric evaluation and additional medical records.

In March, prosecutors and Pietroski accepted findings from a psychiatric evaluation that the Warren woman was not able to understand the charges brought against her. But following treatment for anxiety and depression, attorneys agreed Friedly regained competency.

Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Michael Servitto said the forensic examination determined Friedly was mentally ill, suffering from a "mood disorder" that impaired her judgment at the time of the alleged incident, but she was not criminally insane. "The seriousness of the offense speaks for itself. This is a woman who tried to kill her two kids and take her life with them," Servitto said. "I don't think it gets any more serious than this."

But Coccaro maintains the allegations are uncharacteristic of her daughter: A loving mother who had aspirations of becoming a nurse and often took her kids bowling and on picnics.

"She was a great mom, she devoted her life to the kids," said Coccaro, adding the children are in the care of a paternal aunt. "This is a side I have never seen of her. She wasn't in her right mind."

Servitto said a plea resolution isn't likely. "She committed this conduct, and that conduct is against the law and it's going to be prosecuted," he said.