Accused child murderer Jillian McCabe, who threw her 6 year old son London McCabe off the Yaquina Bay Bridge to his death last November, will not stand trial until at least August 23rd, 2016. The details in her case are crushing.
McCabe has been undergoing psychiatric and psychological tests in an effort to determine whether it can be legally established that she even knew the nature what she was doing the night she threw her son over the bridge railing and knew that it was real and knew that it was real wrong. McCabe, who has a long history of mental illness, including schizophrenia according to her family, threw her son London to his death into Yaquina Bay, then immediately got on the phone to 9-1-1 to report what she had done. She told horrified dispatchers that she had heard voices in her head ordering her to kill her son. So she did.
Psychologists say schizophrenia is a delusional state of mind, frequently involving voices clearly audible to the afflicted person who is frequently totally unable to determine what is real. Common symptoms include false beliefs, unclear or confused thinking, reduced social engagement and emotional expression, and inactivity.
Experts say genetics and early childhood environment, as well as psychological and social problems, appear to be important contributory factors. They add that some recreational and prescription drugs appear to cause or even worsen symptoms.
Treatment is usually antipsychotic medications. Counseling, job training and social rehabilitation are also important in treatment, researchers say.
Under Oregon law, a mental state of “Extreme Emotional Distress” is something of a defense against being convicted of murder. If you don’t fully know what you’re doing because of extreme emotional distress, such as a condition of schizophrenia, that’s not the same as cold, calculated premeditated murder for which there is a life sentence without the chance of parole for at least 25 years.
In the courtroom, depending on the strategy taken by the prosecution, it’ll up to the prosecution to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Jillian McCabe was NOT suffering from extreme emotional distress. But with what McCabe’s family has divulged about her mental state over the past decade, and what’s in her medical and psychological records, the task of proving that she was not under extreme emotional distress may very well be impossible.
But it doesn’t mean McCabe would escape prison. She could be convicted of a lessor charge and be incarcerated for at least ten years. A full ten years – no early parole. And based on the horrific elements in her crime, she’d likely be placed on the tightest probation strictures imaginable complete with verifiable compliance with taking her medications, for starters.