Mother claims insanity in death of 3-year-old son


A North Toledo woman accused in the death of her 3-year-old son used an insanity defense yesterday at her arraignment in Lucas County Common Pleas Court.

Angela Berry, 32, pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to one count each of murder, child endangering, and involuntary manslaughter. She is accused of exposing her son, Hassani Berry, to extremely cold temperatures, causing his death Jan. 17.

Judge Ronald Bowman ordered Ms. Berry to undergo a psychiatric evaluation at the Court Diagnostic and Treatment Center. An examination Feb. 23 determined Ms. Berry is competent to stand trial.

According to an eight-page report prepared for the competency evaluation, the defendant was able to understand the nature and objectives of the charges against her and assist her attorney in her case, Judge Bowman said.

Hassani was found naked in the hallway near the front door inside his mother s apartment at 1520 Elm St. Authorities said the boy was not breathing and cold to the touch. He was taken to St. Vincent Mercy Medical Center, where his temperature was 64 degrees.

Ms. Berry told police she found her son floating face-up in the bathtub and took him out of the tub. She said he was not breathing. But Ms. Berry s account was inconsistent with findings of an autopsy that showed Hassani did not drown or suffer blunt force, trauma, or frostbite.

A baby girl delivered by Ms. Berry Feb. 10 is in the temporary custody of Lucas County Children Services. Rod Brandt, an agency spokesman, said the infant and a 11/2-year-old son who was in the apartment when Hassani was found have been placed together with a foster family.

A hearing will be held today in Lucas County Juvenile Court on a motion for the children to remain in temporary custody of Children Services.