A woman accused of strangling her three young children at their home in Duxbury will remain under hospital care until cleared by officials, per the order of a judge.
Lindsay Clancy, 32, appeared via Zoom as arraignment proceedings took place in Plymouth District Court on Tuesday.
Clancy has remained hospitalized since she was first found by her husband at their residence on Jan. 24, following a suicide attempt in which she jumped from a house window.
During her arraignment, a not guilty plea was entered to charges of first degree murder and strangulation as she laid in a hospital bed. It was at Tuesday’s proceedings that her defense attorney stated that Clancy was not expected to recover “meaningful function” below a spot of her spinal cord following the suicide attempt, indicating the defendant was effectively paraplegic.
Watch: Full arraignment proceedings of Lindsay Clancy
Prosecution alleges deliberate planning, describes horror of husband discovering children in family basement
The charges Clancy now faces stem from the strangulation of her 5-year-old daughter and 3-year-old son, as well as her 8-month-old infant son – all found in the family home’s basement.
The prosecution described how Clancy’s children were discovered by the defendant’s husband, Patrick, after he arrived home the evening of Jan. 24 from picking up food and medicine.
Laying out a timeline in court, Plymouth County Assistant District Attorney Jennifer Sprague detailed how Patrick Clancy had been sent to pick up food at a restaurant that was some distance from the home at Lindsay’s suggestion, while also stopping at CVS to pick up medication for the kids.
Describing how no one who had interacted with Lindsay Clancy prior to that evening had noticed anything out of the ordinary, including the restaurant employee who took her order, prosecutors described how her husband returned to a quiet home, discovering that something was wrong
According to Sprague, the husband found the couple’s upstairs bedroom door to be locked. Getting the door open, Patrick then reportedly discovered blood and an open window, leading him to rush outside to find his wife, who was conscious and appeared to have cuts on her wrists and neck.
When asked where the children were, Lindsay allegedly told Patrick that they were “in the basement.” Later leaving Lindsay with EMS crews, Patrick Clancy then went to the home’s basement, calling out for the kids while remaining on the same 911 call he initially made.
“At one point, he calls out ‘guys?'” Sprague told the court. “He can then be heard screaming in agony and shock as he found his children.”
Each child was found with an exercise band around their neck, which appeared to have been used to strangle them. Both the 5- and 3-year-old were rushed to the hospital where they were pronounced dead. The couple’s 8-month-old died several days later.
The prosecution noted that evidence recovered from the scene showed how, before having him go out for errands, Lindsay Clancy had looked up how long it would take her husband to drive and complete the tasks.
Sprague also described how Clancy spent several minutes strangling the children during that time.
“She could have changed her mind at any point during that time and remove those bands from their necks and she did not,” Sprague said. “The defendant did not take advantage of the situation when her husband left the home that night – she created the situation. And she used Apple Maps to make sure that she would have enough time to strangle each child before her husband returned from where she had sent him.”
Also recovered at the scene were notebooks and phone memos written by the defendant months prior. Sprague stated the notes reflected a mother who described feeling “postpartum anxiety” and, at one point, suicidal thoughts.
According to the prosecution, though, those around Lindsay believed she had been recovering and was found by psychiatrists to not have postpartum depression or any related symptoms at one point prior to Jan. 24.
Defense: Lindsay Clancy was on range of medications after having third child, felt she was being addicted to drugs prescribed by doctors
The suicidal thoughts, anxiety, as well as a brief stay at McLean Hospital in Belmont for psychiatric treatment were the focus of her defense, presented by Kevin Reddington, who argued that Clancy was overmedicated at the time of the murders.
Reddington described how, following the birth of her third child, Lindsay Clancy began to suffer from depression and significant anxiety.
With Clancy being a midwife herself, Reddington described how she sought a number of doctors over said feelings, leading to her being prescribed multiple medications, several of which came with warnings of suicidal ideation.
Introducing the idea of Clancy possibly having postpartum psychosis, Reddington described how the defendant was taking and being taken off medications, including SSRIs, which likely exacerbated her condition.
“She felt that she was being addicted to the benzodiazepines,” the defense lawyer told the court. “She then ends up on Trazodone, Ativan – her mood was terrible after she got out of McLean Hospital. She still had the suicidal thoughts. As the government has indicated, she even told her husband that she had suicidal thoughts. You think this is something that she’s planning, to kill these three kids?”
Meanwhile, Reddington referred to letters submitted by those who knew Lindsay, emphasizing that the defendant loved her children.
He also pointed out that in his visit to the family home, the residence was filled with photos of the family, as well as the children’s toys.
As part of the defense, Reddington also sought to keep Clancy at the Boston-area hospital where she is currently be treated, and avoid having her transferred to Lemuel Shattuck Hospital, citing the facility’s conditions.
He noted that Lindsay Clancy was not capable of walking, and also in need of 24/7 medical care, suggesting she be transferred to a rehabilitative hospital as her recovery continues.
Judge: Defendant will remain in current hospital, no monetary bail set
Towards the end of the proceedings, the presiding judge decided not to set monetary bail for Clancy, ordering that she remain in the hospital she is currently in until medically cleared to move to a new facility.
“The factual allegations in this case are both horrific and tragic,” said Judge John Canavan III. “The potential penalty faced by the defendant, if convicted, is severe. The defendant has no criminal history – she does not even have a driving record. There is no evidence of any history of any abusive behavior by the defendant.” The defendant”
She was also ordered to continue to receive mental health treatment throughout her recovery.
Plymouth County District Attorney Tim Cruz said Tuesday was a “very sad day” in comments after court proceedings concluded.
“The judge made his decision as his ability and we will live with that,” he said.
Reddington said the defense was “most fortunate” to get what he described as “one of the most companionate, strong judges in the state of Massachusetts.”
“He did the right thing and has no compunctions whatsoever,” Reddington said.
A probable cause hearing was scheduled for Tuesday, May 2. The case will likely go to a grand jury for indictment, though, as such an indictment is required to get a first degree murder case to superior court.
WATCH: Review of arraignment proceedings with 7NEWS legal analyst Tom Hoopes
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