Elaine Campione of Toronto is not the first mother to murder her own children, sadly enough. But the manner in which she killed her daughters, ages 3 and 19 months, bespeaks a level of madness that is beyond comprehension.
Locked in a bitter custody battle with her ex-husband, Campione resolved that if she couldn’t keep her children, then neither would he. So she placed the angelic little girls in a warm bath and urged them to blow bubbles. As they did, she held their tiny heads under the water until they drowned.
If the gruesome story had ended there, it would be horrifying enough — but there’s more. After killing the children, Campione curled their hair, clad them in their finest princess dresses, and arranged them on a bed, clasping hands. She then recorded this macabre scene with a video camera, in which she asked her former husband:
Here, are you happy now? The children are gone. How does that make you feel?
Campione was convicted on two counts of first-degree murder, but is now appealing her conviction. According to the Toronto Sun, her attorneys are claiming that their their argument that she could be considered not criminally responsible due to a mental defect was scuttled by the judge in the case.
At the … trial, both sides agreed she was mentally ill — she’d been diagnosed with a psychotic disorder not otherwise specified, suffered from paranoia and delusions and was involuntarily hospitalized in the past. From the chilling home video she made before and after the murders, it was also agreed that the mom was aware that what she was doing was legally wrong.
The crux of the trial was whether she understood it was also morally wrong.
The defence theory was that Campione was so psychotic she actually believed drowning her daughters was protecting them from her ex-husband and would be seen as morally justifiable by society. “She believed they were unsafe on earth and that by sending them to heaven, she was providing them with a safe haven where they could have a happy life together,” wrote her … lawyers….
Unsurprisingly, the jury never bought it. Now her appeal team is contending that the judge, Justice Alfred Stong, didn’t effectively explain the issue of “moral blameworthiness” to the jury.
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