The Boston-area mother accused of strangling her three young children to death before a failed suicide attempt last month was arraigned from her hospital bed by a Plymouth County court on Tuesday afternoon, where a judge declined prosecutors’ request to have her held without bail at a state facility.
“Yes, your honor,” Lindsay Clancy, 32, said when asked if she was online and could understand. Those were the only words the accused killer said during the nearly hour-long hearing.
She occasionally wiped her eyes with a tissue.
In court, Assistant District Attorney Jennifer Sprague detailed some of the things the defendant allegedly did before Cora Clancy, 5, Dawson Clancy, 3, and 7-month-old son, Callan Clancy were strangled in the basement with exercise ropes tied around their necks.
Cora Clancy went to a pediatrician with her mom and “nothing out of the ordinary” occurred at the doctor’s office that day, Sprague said. Once home, the defendant allegedly searched for “kids MiraLAX” on her iPhone and immediately after doing that she used Apple Maps to find out exactly how long it would take for someone to travel to and from a restaurant called ThreeV “if they ran that errand,” Sprague said. Clancy then allegedly called a local CVS to ask about the availability of the laxative – finding out they had something similar but not exact.
Clancy then texted her husband, who was working at his home office, and asked if he wanted to go pick up food from the restaurant in question. He replied that he did and she said she wanted the “Mediterranean power bowl,” the prosecutor said. After getting her husband’s order down, the defendant allegedly called and made the order correctly. The clerk at the restaurant later told police that “her voice was not slurred or impaired in any way.”
The food request was unusual, the prosecutor alleged, because usually the family would order from a restaurant located much closer to their home.
But the husband went out to get it anyway.
Patrick Clancy called his wife from inside the CVS, Sprague said, to make sure he got the right product and didn’t notice anything wrong, except to say that it “seemed like she was in the middle of something.”
When the husband arrived home and walked in the door, “the first thing he noticed was the silence,” the prosecutor said.
Then he went upstairs.
Sprague said Patrick Clancy “saw blood on the floor” and “the window open,” ran back downstairs, found his wife, and called 911. He asked her: “What did you do?” She allegedly said she tried to kill herself.
The husband then asked where the kids were, Sprague told the court.
“In the basement,” Lindsay Clancy allegedly replied.
“She knew what she had done,” Sprague said. “She planned these murders, gave herself the time and privacy needed to commit the murders, and then she strangled each child in the place where they should have felt the safest, at home with their mom.”
As the husband went downstairs, he screamed and cried. Those cries, the prosecutor said, grew increasingly louder.
“Each child still had the exercise band that was used to strangle them around their necks when their father found them,” Sprague said. “She had to strangle each of them to unconscious and then make sure the bands were squeezing their little necks for several minutes.”
The grieving father begged each child to breathe as he made the gruesome discovery. Finally, he screamed: “She killed the kids.”
The state requested no bail, arguing that Lindsay Clancy had both coherently planned to murder her children and was still fully coherent immediately after she was hospitalized.
“She knew she murdered her children,” the prosecutor said, saying the defendant’s first instinct was to protect her own legal rights. Using a whiteboard, one of the first questions Lindsay Clancy asked in the hospital was: “Do I need an attorney?” Sprague said.
“She did not take advantage of the situation when her husband left home that night,” the prosecutor added. “She created the situation.”
Defense attorney Kevin Reddington asked the court not to enter an “inhumane order” that his client be incarcerated. He said “we all know” that jails and prisons are “woefully inadequate” to deal with mental health issues and compared the “dismal, dank conditions” of Bay State facilities for prisoners to “something like Iran.”
“I question whether she would ever make it to a trial,” the famed defense attorney said of his client. “She’s suicidal. She has been unable to express any happiness or sadness, or cry.”
The defense attorney said that his client expressed suicidal thoughts in the month before the killing, including a desire to harm the children the month before the killing. Reddington hotly disputed the idea that Clancy used “Google Maps” in an effort to try and give herself the time needed to complete such a crime.
“Lindsay loved her children,” her attorney added. “The kitchen [was] loaded with toys.”
“This is not a situation your honor that was planned by any means,” Reddington argued. “This was a product of mental illness.”
As for his client’s physical state, he noted that she is not expected to recover any movement below her belly button any time soon. “This makes her a paraplegic,” he told the court – ridiculing the idea that Lindsay Clancy might be considered a flight risk. “She’s paralyzed. She needs significant medical treatment.”
In response, Sprague said the state was previously “under the impression she could move her legs” but recently learned she is currently paralyzed. The prosecutor suggested a state hospital as an alternative facility. The defense ridiculed that suggestion as unserious. The court declined to act on the state’s suggestion.
“Just because she is paralyzed does not mean she is not a flight risk,” Sprague said. “She’ll be in a wheelchair eventually.”
“The court has conducted a careful review of the case and the defendant’s history,” Plymouth District Court Judge John Canavan said, slowly reading through the court’s findings. “The factual allegations in this case are both horrific and tragic. The potential penalty the defendant faces in this case is severe.”
Citing the defendant’s lack of criminal history, her roots in New England, her supportive family, and testimonials from co-workers, the judge declined to have her incarcerated.
Canavan did not set cash bail.
“The defendant shall remain in her current hospital until medically cleared to be moved to a new facility,” the judge said.
Under the terms of the court’s order, Clancy will continue to receive mental health treatment while hospitalized. In the event she “completes” a rehabilitation program at a 24-7 rehab facility, an additional hearing will be held to determine how her continued mental health will be dealt with. She may be eligible for home confinement with electronic monitoring in the future, contingent on probation determining such a situation is safe and secure, the court added.
A probable cause hearing for the case is slated for May 6.
[image via screengrab/Plymouth County District Court/Zoom]
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