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Jury Deliberates Texas Mom’s Fate

February 24, 2006

McKINNEY, Texas (AP) _ Jurors in the murder trial of a woman accused of cutting off her baby’s arms said they were deadlocked, but the judge urged them to continue deliberations on Friday.

The jury had deliberated for two days in the trial of Dena Schlosser, 37, before sending a note to State District Judge Chris Oldner on Thursday saying they couldn’t agree on a verdict.

Schlosser pleaded innocent by reason of insanity in the death of her 10-month-old daughter Margaret. Police said they had found her soaked in blood, holding a knife and listening to a hymn as the baby lay dying in her crib.

The defense says Schlosser didn’t know right from wrong during the 2004 slaying.

Her attorneys want her committed to a state mental hospital. Prosecutors are seeking a life sentence.

Before adjourning Thursday night, jurors asked to rehear testimony from three doctors who said they believed Schlosser suffered from severe mental illness and did not know right or wrong at the time of the baby’s death.

They earlier reheard testimony from a Plano police officer who described how Schlosser screamed, prayed and begged for forgiveness in a hospital the day her daughter died.

During closing arguments, Assistant District Attorney Bill Dobiyanski displayed a bloody kitchen knife and urged jurors to hold Schlosser accountable for the death of her daughter. He said psychiatrists were merely taking educated guesses when they testified Schlosser didn’t know right from wrong.

Defense attorney Bill Schultz said the case came down to whether Schlosser knew what she was doing was wrong. He also said prosecutors have no business questioning medical professionals.

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