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CBS 47 WJAX
July 23, 2003
Last Update: 7/23/2003 10:00:22 AM (Gainesville-AP) — A Gainesville woman who said she heard a voice telling her to kill her four-year-old daughter is pleading NO contest to second-degree murder and getting 20 years in prison.
Denise Dell entered the plea yesterday. Under the agreement, she will also be placed on probation for the rest of her life after her release from prison. Dell will be subject to mental health counseling and evaluations and continued treatment with psychotropic drugs.
Dell had been charged with first-degree murder after the death of her daughter Tayana, and faced life in prison if convicted. But the prosecution faced the possibility of a successful insanity defense if the case went to trial. Physicians who examined Dell had said she likely was insane at the time she committed the crime.
At the time of her arrest, Dell was being treated for depression but had stopped taking her medication. The girl had been shot in the forehead and apparently had been dead for several days when found.
The body was discovered wrapped in a sheet, in a trash bin outside a Gainesville convenience store on May 21st, 2001. After her arrest, Dell was found incompetent and sent to a state mental hospital for treatment. In September, a judge declared her competent and the criminal case against her moved forward.