Lawyer: Mom who drove kids in sea to plead insane

AP News
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Posted: Dec 09, 2014 5:35 PM

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Prosecutors will drop attempted murder charges against a mother charged with trying to kill her three children by driving them into the ocean and she will plead not guilty by reason of insanity to child abuse, her attorney said Tuesday.

Assistant public defender Craig Dyer said that he and prosecutors will present the proposed deal for 33-year-old Ebony Wilkerson to a judge at the end of the week. In March, Wilkerson drove her van into the surf off Daytona Beach. Bystanders and officers pulled her and her children — ages 3, 9 and 10 — from it as it was almost submerged.

The proposed deal was reached after a psychologist hired by prosecutors agreed with a defense psychologist that Wilkerson had a psychotic break, Dyer said.

"We've had doctors saying that all along," Dyer said.

Spencer Hathaway, a spokesman for the State Attorney's Office, wouldn't comment, other than to say, "Nothing has been finalized. Nothing has been written."

If the judge accepts the deal, a hearing will be held next week to determine whether Wilkerson will be hospitalized for treatment or if she will get community release with oversight by the court, Dyer said.

Wilkerson currently is out on bond and is receiving regular outpatient treatment, he said.