A woman accused of killing her three young sons by tossing them into frigid San Francisco Bay believed God summoned her to sacrifice her children, her lawyer told a judge.
"The voice of God called upon her to sacrifice her three children," Teresa Caffese said at the woman's preliminary hearing in San Francisco Superior Court.
Lashaun Harris, 23, was arrested last October, shortly after authorities said she dropped her children, one by one, over a rail and into the bay.
Taronta Greeley Jr., 2, was buried. The bodies of Treyshun Harris, 6, and Joshoa Greeley, 16 months, were never recovered.
Harris, who faces three counts of murder, has pleaded not guilty. She was diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic with delusional thought disorder, Caffese said, and was hospitalized once because she said God was telling her to jump out a window.
"Why is the DA prosecuting a pathetically schizophrenic, poor, black woman?" Caffese said during a break in testimony. "She loved her kids."
Debbie Mesloh, a spokeswoman for San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris, said it was up to the defense to present prosecutors with a psychiatric evaluation proving that Lashuan Harris' actions were not "willful, deliberate and premeditated," the standard for first-degree murder.
"Until we are presented evidence on her mental state that she could not control herself or something else was driving her, the evidence remains the same," Mesloh said.
When prosecutors presented their case, they showed part of the video footage of the police interview with Harris immediately after the incident.
She sounded groggy, almost drugged and the officers questioned her as if she was a child. Her answers were mumbled, quiet and she seemed confused about where she was and what day it was.
She told the investigators God "said I need to kill my kids," and she took them to the pier for that purpose.
Police officer Thomas Johnson testified that he found Harris at the scene pushing an empty stroller.
"Where did you put the babies?" he asked. Harris replied, "They're OK. They're with their father," Johnson said.