To view original article click here
The San Diego Union-Tribune
Alex Roth STAFF WRITER
DATE: October 21, 2006
She’d just given birth to her first child and she was horribly depressed. She consulted a family pastor, sought medical treatment and the feelings eventually passed, said Darci Marzinske of St. Clair, Minn., one of her best friends. A year later Lawson’s second child was born and the harrowing sense of anguish repeated.
Original article no longer available
Woman had tried to drown daughters — (The San Diego Union-Tribune)
By Jose Luis Jiménez, UNION-TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER
January 31, 2007
VISTA – An Escondido pastor’s wife was overwhelmed with taking care of two sick children by herself while battling the flu and suffering from postpartum depression, her attorney said.
A depressed Kristen Kaye Lawson, who had run out of her medication, did the unthinkable, and tried to drown her two young daughters in a bathtub Oct. 5, said her attorney, William Wolfe. Yesterday, Lawson pleaded guilty to child-abuse charges in Superior Court to begin the process of reconciliation with her three children, whom she has not seen for more than three months, Wolfe said in an interview.
“She had run out of medication for postpartum depression,” Wolfe said. “It caused a brief, momentary lapse in judgment that could have turned out much worse.”
As part of a plea agreement, prosecutor Marnie Stein dropped the assault charges and agreed to let Judge Daniel Goldstein determine the punishment at a hearing scheduled April 3. Goldstein’s options range from allowing Lawson, 31, to remain free on probation to a maximum sentence of seven years in prison.
Lawson originally was arrested on suspicion of attempted murder after police said she tried to drown the girls, who were ages 5 months and 6 years at the time. Stein later filed reduced charges, explaining that the evidence did not support attempted murder.
Stein could not be reached for comment yesterday.
Lawson’s husband, Robert Lawson Jr., has been the pastor at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church since September 2002. Kristen Lawson was home alone with the girls while her husband was traveling with their 5-year-old son.
Kristen Lawson had been diagnosed with postpartum depression after the births of her two older children, and again was receiving treatment after her second daughter was born, Wolfe said.
When the medicine ran out, Lawson called in a new prescription, but became ill along with her children and never picked up the refill.
Lawson tried to drown the girls, but changed her mind and called 911 when the baby had trouble breathing, police said. The children were not hurt and have been living with their father since Kristen Lawson’s arrest.
During her first court appearance, Lawson was ordered not to have any contact with her daughters. By pleading guilty, she is now allowed to see her children with the supervision of Child Protective Services, Wolfe said.
“She’s always accepted responsibility from the moment she called 911,” Wolfe said. “She’s getting treatment. She’s feeling better.”
Lawson remains free on bail.