Monday, 2 May 2011

FILICIDE: California: Anul Malik Ram pleads insanity - prosecution's compromise

Andy Furillo: Apr. 30, 2011
6M30MOTHER.JPG Anul Malik Ram admits drowning her daughter, 3, but made an insanity plea in her son's attempted murder.
With psychiatric medications already in her system, Anul Malik Ram came home from work one night and drank a 24-ounce bottle of Corona and smoked two packs of cigarettes in four hours, according to testimony at her preliminary hearing.Then, authorities said, she went over to her estranged husband's house, picked up their two kids, took them home – and drowned her 3-year-old daughter in the bathtub.
The 32-year-old licensed vocational nurse admitted the second-degree murder Friday in Sacramento Superior Court. Ram is scheduled to be sentenced to prison for 15 years to life when she returns to face Judge Marjorie Koller on May 20. Deputy District Attorney Charles Gonzalez said the plea deal came at the request of Assistant Public Defender Jeff Barbour. The prosecutor characterized the agreement as a "dual plea" – of guilt to the murder charge while at the same time she contends she is not guilty by reason of insanity to the attempted murder of her then-7-year-old son.
If Ram had been found not guilty by reason of insanity to the murder, she would have been sent to a state mental hospital for an indefinite term. If hospital officials later decided she had been restored to sanity, she could have been released to community placement well before the 15-year minimum she now faces."This was a compromise," Gonzalez said. "She gets to go to the hospital, but if she ever regains her sanity, she goes to prison. They gain the benefit of knowing she's going to the hospital, and we gain the benefit of knowing she'll get at least 15 years."If she would have been found not guilty by reason of insanity, she could have been released in a year."Barbour did not return a phone call for comment.Ram pleaded guilty to the single count of second-degree murder in the Nov. 15, 2009, drowning death of her daughter, Divya Ram. She also was charged with trying to murder her son, Devan, in her apartment in the 7300 block of Greenhaven Drive.According to testimony at her Oct. 1, 2010, preliminary hearing, Ram told detectives she was bipolar and depressed. The detectives testified she had been taking Lamictal for her seizures, Abilify for her depression and schizophrenia, and Lexapro for depression and anxiety. A DA's office news release said Ram once tried to kill herself and had spent some time in a mental hospital for psychiatric treatment. At her preliminary hearing, Sacramento Police Detective Jason Kirtlan said Ram "was aware there were precautions on the medications not to drink" while taking them.But on the fatal Saturday night she came home from work to an empty apartment, "she was depressed and hearing voices," Kirtlan testified. They told her "that her children weren't meant for her, that she was meant to be alone," the detective said.Ram then went to the residence of her husband, Dinesh, retrieved the two children around 1:30 a.m. and brought them to her apartment."She was hearing voices and decided to give her daughter a bath," Kirtlan testified. She then "held her underwater for five minutes until she was lifeless," the detective said.Ram also told police she sexually abused the girl before she killed her, according to Kirtlan's testimony.Kirtlan said Ram told him in his interview the day of the killing "she was remorseful and would suffer all consequences for her action."Another detective at the preliminary hearing testified that Devan Ram witnessed the drowning death of his sister.The boy watched as "his mother put her underneath the water," Detective Ashley Englefield testified.Devan told police "that she breathed the water," Englefield said. "Those were his words. … Then he said she couldn't breathe and then she died.""He told me his mother told him that he would find his sister again in another time," Englefield said. 

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