Original article no longer available
By Leslie Slape
February 14, 2003
A Kelso mother accused of killing her little girl has pleaded innocent to first-degree murder by reason of insanity.
As Ginger Mabey’s family members wept, Judge James Warme signed the order Thursday morning to send Mabey, 26, back to Western State Hospital for 30 days’ observation. He will set a trial date after she is released.
Mabey stood quietly beside defense attorney Thad Scudder, her long curls tumbling nearly to her waist. She did not glance toward her family.
She is accused of killing her 5-year-old daughter, Mariah Edwards, the morning of Nov. 20. Court documents show that Mabey told Cowlitz County sheriff’s deputies that she stopped Mariah’s breathing at their Beacon Hill apartment because she didn’t want her daughter to live “through this anymore.” She said she wanted her daughter to go to heaven.
Mabey’s family and friends have said she adored her daughter and was protective of her. Mabey’s family has also said that she was on medication for depression.
Doctors at Western State evaluated Mabey in December and found her competent to stand trial. That means she is able to understand the charges and work with her attorney in her own defense. The insanity plea requires a second evaluation because it refers to the defendant’s state of mind at the time of the crime.
The insanity defense is not common, either nationally or locally. In Cowlitz County, only nine defendants have been acquitted by reason of insanity since 1995, according to Superior Court records.
They include Mildred Joann Sherard of Longview, who shot her husband to death in 1996, then shot herself; Jack Arthur Lewis of Longview, who severely beat his mother in 1998; Jay Curtis Jallo, who broke into Longview City Hall in 1995, saying it was his duty to protect all citizens of Earth from electronic torture; and Patti Elane White, who wrote $8,000 worth of checks on a closed account in 1996, saying, “God gave me the money.”
In most cases, a verdict of not guilty by reason of insanity prompts a judge to commit defendants to treatment centers until mental health officials determine they do not pose a danger to anyone.
One of the most famous recent uses of the insanity defense came in United States v. Hinckley, concerning the 1981 assassination attempt against President Ronald Reagan. John Hinckley was acquitted by reason of insanity and is confined in a hospital for the criminally insane.