UPDATE @ 5:15 p.m.: A 31-year-old Dayton woman, found not guilty by reason of insanity in the killing of two of her children in 2017, is eager to receive treatment, the Montgomery County Prosecutor’s Office said in a prepared statement.
Claudena Helton, charged with aggravated murder in the May 2017 shooting deaths of her daughter Khmorra, 8, and son Kaiden, 6, offered her plea Friday at a bench trial to Montgomery County Common Pleas Judge Dennis Langer.
Langer accepted the plea and ordered her to be institutionalized at Summit Behavioral Healthcare in Cincinnati. A six-month review has been scheduled for July 18, according to the court.
The state dismissed the specifications that made the case death penalty eligible.
“The family members that were in court today were very relieved that she’s not looking at a death penalty any more, that she’s going to get the help that she’s needed and that healing can really be promoted at this point,” said her defense attorney, Anthony VanNoy.
He said three psychological reports were done on Helton. Two concluded she was legally not guilty by reason of insanity, while the third concluded she was legally sane.
According to evidence gathered by Dayton police, Helton reportedly asked her third child to help drag the bodies of the other two outside their home on Lori Sue Avenue.
Police said when they arrived, Helton was naked. Neighbors told police she appeared to be in a trance-like state when they saw her.
In court documents, Dayton police wrote Helton said she shot the children to “save them from the evils of the world.”
They died a few days later at Dayton Children’s Hospital.
At the time of the shootings, county children services had been investigating Helton.
The time since the shooting has been very difficult, VanNoy said. “There’s small children and losing a daughter for the grandparents losing custody,” he said. “It’s extremely difficult.”
County Prosecutor Mat Heck Jr., in the prepared statement, said his office is satisfied Helton understands she is going to a hospital and understands she needs treatment and she’s eager to get treatment.
“The judge’s decision today ensures that the Montgomery County Common Pleas Court will have jurisdiction for the maximum prison term that would have been available for the acts that occurred,” Heck’s office said in the statement.
“Since the acts were two counts of aggravated murder, which carry a maximum sentence of life without the possibility of parole, this defendant will be monitored by the Court for the rest of her life.”