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BOWLING GREEN — More than eight months after her infant twins died in a car crash on a rural Wood County road, the Ida, Mich., woman who was behind the wheel that day learned she will be released from jail next week.
Lori Massingill, 39, was found not guilty by reason of insanity in June of charges stemming from the babies’ deaths. On Friday, Wood County Common Pleas Judge Alan Mayberry approved a conditional release plan that allows her to live with her parents in Ida and undergo intensive mental-health counseling through the Monroe Community Mental Health Authority.
Ms. Massingill, who will be under the court’s supervision for five years, is to be released at 11 a.m. Monday from the Wood County jail, where she has been held since her November indictment on two counts of aggravated vehicular homicide and one count of endangering children.
Her attorney, J. Scott Hicks, said it’s unusual for defendants to meet the legal threshold of not guilty by reason of insanity and even more unusual for those who do to go into outpatient treatment rather than hospitalization.
“The statute says the court has to make a determination of what the least restrictive treatment environment is, and one of those is conditional release or outpatient treatment,” he said. “It happens so seldom in a not guilty by reason of insanity scenario where somebody actually has been restored to the point where that is the appropriate treatment plan.”
Ms. Massingill, who had been treated for mental-health issues in the past, was not taking her prescribed medication at the time of the Nov. 12 crash. She was northbound on Fostoria Road just south of the Ohio Turnpike at a high rate of speed — estimated at nearly 100 mph — when she struck a raised railroad crossing and lost control of her car, which became airborne.
Her 6-week-old twins, Presley and Parker, were in car seats, but the seats were not securely fastened. Both died from head injuries.
Mr. Hicks said his client did not remember the crash. The brief trial held June 18 was “her first opportunity to really see the evidence presented to her when she was in a state of mind to recognize how bad it was, and she was traumatized by it,” he said. “It was a very difficult time for her.”
Ms. Massingill underwent assessments by the Court Diagnostic and Treatment Center in Toledo as well as by a Monroe County mental health agency. Both agreed that she was an appropriate candidate for outpatient treatment.
Gwen Howe-Gebers, chief assistant Wood County prosecutor, said the conditional-release plan requires that agency personnel watch her take her medication daily for the first month.
“I’m satisfied with how they’re going to monitor her,” she said.
Contact Jennifer Feehan at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-213-2134.