Deanna Laney out of mental institution

Published: May. 24, 2012 at 10:53 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 8, 2012 at 3:30 AM CDT
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SMITH COUNTY, TX (KLTV) - An East Texas woman who stoned two of her children to death and severely injured her other child is out of a Texas mental institution.

Deanna Laney of New Chapel Hill was acquitted of capital murder by reason of insanity in 2004. Laney was ordered to inpatient treatment at Kerrville State Hospital. In court, Laney testified that it was God who told her to kill her children.

Each year since the crime, Laney has been up for evaluation. Now, nearly eight years later, she's out.

For nearly eight years, it's been the state's burden of proof to keep Deanna Laney confined to a state mental institution. Last week, in a closed hearing, four psychiatrists testified there was no reason to keep Laney hospitalized.

KLTV exclusively obtained the court documents from that private hearing. Click here to read those documents.

A transcript from a conversation between Laney and her doctor, six days after she killed two of her children on Mother's Day weekend 2003, reads as follows:

Laney: I got Luke and I drug him around.

Dr. Resnick: Drug him around?

Laney: By his feet.

Dr. Resnick:Oh, uh, Luke.

Laney: Luke... And I hid him behind the swing that we have over there.

Seven months after the killings, and while on medication, this is what jurors heard from Laney during her trial:

"I had to get Joshua. I didn't want him to see Luke. I drug Luke around. I drug Luke around. I put this rock down on his chest so that he couldn't breathe. And I said, Lord I just can't do it longer. I looked up and there was a streak of lightning that came down and that was like a sign to me that he was dead," Laney said.

Investigators found eight-year-old Joshua and six-year-old Luke in their underwear, bludgeoned to death in the front yard. 14-month-old Aaron was found in his crib; he survived his mother's attack, but is now brain damaged.

Authorities described the scene as horrific.

The Laneys were known as a Christian family; the children were home schooled. At the time, their church family stood beside them, saying "Obviously, this is a tragedy that has touched two of the precious families in our church, but we affirm as a local church and pledge our support and our continued prayers for Dee, Keith and Aaron and we do believe that somehow God will bring beauty out of the ashes."

Now released from her court-mandated hospitalization, Laney must follow a set of rules:

  • Laney must allow designated case workers to visit in her home at all times determined by the case workers.
  • Laney must take all medications as they are prescribed.
  • She can have no unsupervised contact with minors.
  • Laney's also been ordered to submit periodic blood tests to monitor her medication levels.
  • Lastly, Laney's ordered to not change her address without permission of the court.

Where Laney lives now, only a few people, including her attorney, know.

The four doctors who recommended her release say she's not a threat to herself or society. The state says they will always disagree.

If Laney violates any of those rules, the court could reassess her outpatient treatment.

In 2008, Laney's ex-husband, Keith Laney, remarried.

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