Court papers: Mom says she stabbed kids to keep them quiet

AP News
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Posted: Jan 26, 2015 8:49 PM

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — A Washington state woman accused of stabbing her three small children told detectives she cut the children's throats with a kitchen knife to keep them quiet for her soldier husband, a prosecutor said Monday.

Christina E. Booth, 29, of Olympia, said in the police interview that her husband, Thomas Booth, never helped her with the children and got "very annoyed" when they cried, Thurston County Deputy Prosecutor Craig Juris said in a probable cause document filed in court. The children include a 2-year-old toddler and 6-month-old twins.

Bail was set Monday at $3 million. The woman was arrested early Sunday for investigation of attempted murder. The prosecutor's office said Monday she has not yet been formally charged. An email request for comment sent to a lawyer who was with her at the bail hearing was not immediately returned.

The children were reported stable Sunday after surgery at a hospital. The hospital isn't releasing updates on their condition because of federal privacy law. They have been placed in the custody of state Child Protective Services.

Thomas Booth told police his wife had been "very stressed out" raising the children and was on medication for post-partum depression, according to court papers. He said he and his wife had watched a movie at home Saturday night and each had two large glasses of wine. He described his wife as sufficiently intoxicated that she was slurring her words.

According to the detectives' account, Christina Booth said she had been having a tough time caring for the children. She said her husband "never helps her with the children and that Thomas gets very annoyed when the children cry and make noise," detectives said in the probable cause account.

The woman said the twins started crying after she took the toddler up to bed and "she hit her breaking point," the document said. She described going downstairs to get a knife from the dishwasher, then cutting her toddler daughter's throat with a knife and covering her with blankets so she would be hidden. She then described cutting the twins' throats.

"Christina said she knew if she killed all of the kids, the house would be quiet for Thomas," the probable cause document said she told detectives. "During the interview, Christina broke down crying several times, yelled about Thomas never helping with the kids and vomited once. Christina made the comment 'they will be quiet now' several times."

Police have said Thomas Booth is not suspected of a crime.

He told detectives that he found the injured twins after he saw his wife wearing only her underwear, crying and screaming, a short time after she took the little girl upstairs to put her to bed. He said grabbed his medical kit and started trying to stop the twins' bleeding with gauze, while yelling at his wife to call 911. Thomas Booth said he saw the toddler in her bed but didn't see anything wrong with her.

The man told detectives his wife always took the children out of his presence if they cried.

In talking with the woman's husband and neighbors, detectives have been getting a picture of a family in stress, Olympia police Lt. Jim Costa said earlier.

Neighbors told investigators that Booth had a "bubbly" personality, but she had no break in dealing with her little ones.

"I'm sure there probably was frustration, friction in the household," Costa said. "A lot of dynamics pushed her over the brink."

A crying woman called 911 at 1:17 a.m. Sunday and said her kids were crying and wouldn't stop, Costa said. She said she thought they needed medical attention.

A man came on the line a minute later and said the kids were bleeding from the neck and needed an ambulance, the lieutenant said.

Thomas Booth is with the 1st Special Forces Group at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, said Sgt. Michael Sword in the public affairs office. A message was left seeking comment from Thomas Booth.