(KTXL) — A Yuba County judge accepted a woman’s plea on Wednesday to be found not guilty by reason of insanity in the deaths of her two children.
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Courtney Williams was arrested on April 7, 2022, by the Yuba County Sheriff’s Department.
The sheriff’s department said the father had returned home that day for lunch when his wife allegedly told him she had hurt the children.
After she told him about the children, deputies said the father searched the home and found the two boys in a bathtub full of water — They were 5 months old and 2 years old.
The county district attorney later charged her with killing her two children.
She first pleaded not guilty, but it was later changed on July 20, 2022, to a dual plea of “not guilty and not guilty by reason of insanity.”
The court subsequently assigned her two doctors — one chosen by the prosecution and one by the defense.
“Citing in part Williams’s battle with postpartum depression and psychosis, both doctors separately concluded that Williams was insane at the time she killed her children,” the court said.
Williams later admitted on Jan. 12, 2023, that “she was guilty of murdering her children, but ‘still not guilty by reason of insanity,’” according to the court.
The judge accepted her plea the same day and found her not guilty by reason of insanity. Through a recommendation, it was advised that she be committed to the State Hospital; the judge accepted the report and signed a commitment order on Feb. 1.
According to the court, Williams can apply to be released from the State Hospital once her sanity has been restored.
The court would then need to find that she “will not be a danger to the health and safety of others, due to mental defect, disease, or disorder.”
Postpartum depression in parents
About one in seven parents is affected by postpartum depression, according to the court.
Postpartum depression shares various symptoms with depression but can also affect people in different ways, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
•Crying more often than usual
•Feelings of anger
•Withdrawing from loved ones
•Feeling distant from your baby
•Worrying or feeling overly anxious
•Thinking about hurting yourself or your baby
•Doubting your ability to care for your baby
If you or someone you know is in immediate danger, the CDC advises people to call 911. The Suicide and Crisis Lifeline is available 24/7; call or text 988 or visit 988lifeline.org.
The CDC recommends people contact their health provider if they think they may be depressed or are going through emotional changes.