Lawyer's for Verna McClain, accused in killing and baby abduction, say they will review her mental state
(CBS/AP) CONROE, Texas - Attorney's for a Texas nurse accused of fatally shooting a new mother and speeding away with the dying woman's infant son said Thursday that they plan to review her mental state.
Verna McClain's court-appointed lawyers said she was confused, visibly upset and mumbling to them during a brief court hearing earlier in the day. McClain is facing a capital murder charge in the death of 28-year-old Kala Golden.
"It will take a while ... for her to have an appreciation for what the situation is, if she ever does appreciate it," defense attorney E. Tay Bond said after the hearing.
McClain is accused of shooting Golden in the parking lot of a suburban Houston pediatric clinic, then snatching Golden's 3-day-old son, Keegan Schuchardt. The infant was found safe hours later with McClain's sister, who told investigators that McClain told her she planned to adopt the boy.
Investigators said McClain, a mother of three, had suffered a miscarriage and was desperate to find a baby after telling her fiancÚ that she'd given birth to their child.
McClain intends to plead not guilty, Bond said, adding that a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity was "certainly something we will be visiting."
Texas District Judge Fred Edwards asked her several questions, including whether she owned a house or car, or had any savings, to which she responded, "No sir." McClain told the judge she understood the charge against her.
The judge delayed a bond hearing until Monday to give McClain's lawyers more time to review the case, and McClain will be held without bond until then. The capital murder charge carries a potential death sentence.
McClain is being held in a jail cell by herself under 24-hour watch, and Bond said he didn't believe any of her relatives had visited. Bond said he hopes McClain is granted a reasonable bond so she would take care of her three children, who are being looked after by a relative in Houston.
Montgomery County District Attorney Brett Ligon said his office hasn't decided whether to seek the death penalty. Bond and McClain's other attorney, Stephen Jackson, said they didn't believe that punishment was appropriate.
"One of the things they have to prove is future dangerousness. When you have an isolated incident with somebody who has no prior criminal history, it is very difficult to prove that that person would be a future danger," Bond said.
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