CONROE — Postpartum psychosis with delusions, including demonic possession with the ability to talk to the dead, is how a psychiatrist described the mental health of Jesseca Carson when her 13-month-old daughter Amora was brutally beaten and strangled to death in December 2008.
The psychiatrist testified in Blaine Milam‘s capital murder trial Wednesday in a Montgomery County courtroom as Milam’s defense team attempted to shift the blame of the death from their client to Ms. Carson.
Milam and Ms. Carson stand accused of the crime in which the child also suffered a sexual assault and was bitten more than 20 times.
Ms. Carson has told authorities the death of her child occurred during an exorcism that went badly. New testimony Wednesday indicated Ms. Carson told authorities the “devil had come into her” and that Milam was first possessed by Satan and then her daughter.
Dr. Frank Murphy, a forensic psychiatrist, told the court out of the presence of the jury, that Ms. Carson likely could have suffered from a postpartum psychosis.
However, Texas Attorney General Prosecutor Lisa Tanner made the point clear that Murphy had not interviewed Ms. Carson, but did review her video taped interviews with law enforcement, the offense report in the case and other information the defense provided to him.
Murphy told Tanner, who is assisting Rusk County District Attorney Micheal Jimerson in the case, he had not reviewed any of Ms. Carson’s medical records, including any records of Ms. Carson’s obstetrician nor did he interview her family.
“It is very unlikely to malinger craziness in this fashion, because she did not want to be thought of as crazy,” Murphy said. Murphy said a religious type of delusion is usual in maternal filicide and postpartum psychosis.
“When she started telling her true story she said, ‘It all started when we began using an Ouija Board in September to contact our dead fathers,’” lead defense attorney Rick Hagan said.
Hagan said Ms. Carson told authorities and friends that Milam was possessed by the devil and that led to the possession of her child. Murphy said the depression was documented by Ms. Carson suddenly not adding to her daughter’s baby book, which she had kept up until about August 2008.
Amora’s first birthday was not documented in the book. Ms. Carson’s mother, Heather Carson, told the jury her daughter began acting differently and that she began getting harassing phone calls from both Ms. Carson and Milam regarding allegations surrounding Ms. Carson’s father’s suicide in 2001.
The jury did not hear about the specifics of the phone calls, but instead heard the mother say she was concerned for her daughter’s mental state just before the murder.
Upon questioning by Ms. Tanner, Murphy said that Milam may have been on methamphetamines for weeks and he too was psychotic.
CONROE — An attorney for Blaine Milam, who is on trial for the capital murder of a 13-month-old girl, told jurors Wednesday that his client’s mentally ill girlfriend was responsible for the child’s death.
Jessica Carson was depressed and so delusional that “she lost touch with reality and lost touch with her daughter,” said attorney Rick Hagan during the first day of the defense’s case. “She acted out on those delusional thoughts.”
Milam, 20, and Carson, 19, who will be tried separately on a capital murder charge, are accused of killing Carson’s daughter, Amora Bain Carson, on Dec. 2, 2008, in Rusk County. The trial started last week with Rusk County District Attorney Micheal Jimerson and state Assistant Attorney General Lisa Tanner calling several witnesses, including a medical examiner who described Amora’s numerous injuries.
Prosecutors said the couple called 911 to report the child was dead. They told authorities they had gone to look at land to buy and when they returned home, she was dead. When police arrived they found the lifeless child with 24 human bite marks all over her body and multiple red and purple bruises covering her entire head.
The trial was moved to Conroe because of pre-trial publicity. Rusk County Judge J. Clay Gossett is presiding over the case.
Up until about three months before her toddler daughter was found beaten to death in her home, Jessica Carson diligently recorded the milestones of Amora Bain Carson’s young life.
That stopped, however, in September 2008, with the last entry in Amora’s baby book noting the death of the father of Blaine Milam, Jessica’s fiance.
Milam’s defense team opened its case Wednesday morning after the prosecution rested Tuesday and will attempt to prove to jurors that Jessica Carson alone murdered her 13-month-old daughter, lead defense attorney Rick Hagan said.
“She was suffering from depression and was having delusions,” he said. “She lost touch with reality and, more importantly, lost touch with her daughter. She acted out on her delusions.
Milam and Jessica Carson met around January 2008, about two months after Amora’s birth, and quickly got serious, said Heather Carson, Jessica’s mother. The same night the couple attended Jessica’s prom in April 2008, Milam proposed marriage.
“I thought that was too young to be getting too serious,” Heather Carson said.
Jessica moved out of her mother’s home after her high school graduation and into the home Milam shared with his parents, Heather Carson said. She turned 18 in September 2008 and received $25,000 held in trust from her father’s death in 2001.
Right after that, Heather Carson said, she began noticing changes in Jessica.
“She became very quiet and subdued. She didn’t care too much how she looked,” she said.
Although Gossett wouldn’t allow prosecutors to be specific, Jessica had made “very serious” allegations against her mother after she moved in with Milam, Heather Carson said, and she began receiving harassing phone calls from Milam and Jessica.
The allegations affected the relationship between Jessica Carson and her mother, Heather Carson said.
Asked by Assistant Texas Attorney General Lisa Tanner, who is helping prosecute the case with Rusk County District Attorney Micheal Jimerson, whether Jessica Carson had suffered from postpartum depression after Amora’s birth, Heather Carson emphatically answered, “No.
“She was a good mother. She did everything for her (Amora),” she said.
Rick Bessette, who worked with Milam at an auto repair shop, testified about meeting the couple at a truck stop around 9 p.m. Dec. 1, 2008, the night before Amora’s death. He said he had hosted the couple and baby at his home for Thanksgiving a few days earlier.
Jessica Carson had spoken very little that day and had very little to do with Amora, he said.
“My sister held it (Amora) the whole time,” Bessette said. “Blaine was the only one doing anything for it.”