Prosecutor in Laney case: Judge "did what she had to do under the law"
Matt Bingham, Smith County District Attorney
TYLER, TX (KLTV) -
An East Texas Woman accused of stoning two of her children to death and severely injuring another was released from a state hospital.
Deanna Laney was acquitted of capital murder by reason of insanity in 2004 and has been confined to the Kerrville State Hospital since 2007. Smith County District Attorney Matt Bingham, who tried the case in 2004, said his office did everything possible to keep Laney confined to the hospital.
"We called every doctor and every expert we knew that worked with her and went through thousands of pages of evidence," Bingham said. "But when that hearing came up the doctors found that she did not meet the requirements for re-commitment. At that point, Judge Kennedy did what she had to do under the law."
Bingham said that every year Laney comes up for review, but this year doctors were not able to find substantial proof that Laney was still insane. He said it was a verdict he did not agree with in the 2004 trial.
"I never believed she was insane," he said. "That's why we went to a jury, but the jury found her not guilty by reasons of insanity and I respect their decision. When that happened, she went into a whole different process. At that point she is not convicted of a crime, she would just be confined to the institution."
Bingham explained that since Laney was acquitted of the crime, they cannot bring up any evidence from her trial to try and keep her at the institution. The only evidence that can be presented at the hearings is the doctor's testimony of her current condition.
"We're at the point where we put on all the evidence that we could, but the evidence wasn't there to keep her committed," Bingham said.
He also said that the court has to address the issue of Laney being able to see her other child, but he could not comment on that decision.
In the end, the decision to release Laney, Bingham said, was one that the court legally had to make based on the evidence that showed she was not insane.
"I respect the law and respect their decisions, and this is where it took us," Bingham said.
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