Story Summary

Chelsea Thornton confesses to murdering her two children

CaptureChelsea Thornton has confessed to shooting her 3-year-old son then drowning her 4-year-old daughter when her gun malfunctioned.

Story Timeline
Previous Next
This story has 7 updates

The woman accused of shooting her three-year-old son and drowning her four-year-old daughter has been found competent to stand trial.

Chelsea Thornton will not have to stay in the Orleans Parish Prison before the trial.

A criminal court judge said Thorton has a well documented case of mental illness.

She’s been undergoing treatment for the last four months.

The judge will allow Thorton to remain in a mental hospital instead of the prison because the it can’t provide the necessary care.

thornton

A judge ruled Thursday that a mother accused of killing her two young children is incompetent to stand trial.

Chelsea Thornton faced two counts of murder.  Her lawyer said she would plead not guilty by reason of insanity.

Thornton will be sent to the East Louisiana Mental Health System.

Police say she confessed to shooting her three-year-old son and drowning her four-year-old daughter in a bathtub inside their Gert Town home in October.

At the scene, friends and neighbors said Thornton struggled with mental illness.  During a preliminary court hearing, Thornton’s family members expressed similar concern about her mental health.

News
12/10/12

Thornton mental health ruling delayed

CaptureThe Gert Town mother accused of killing her two young children likely won’t go to trial any time soon. The judge was set to rule on Chelsea Thornton’s mental competence but that ruling has been pushed back.

This is perhaps the most shocking crime story of the year in New Orleans. Now, a judge has to decide if Chelsea Thornton is too mentally ill to stand trial. Judge Gerard Hansen was supposed to make that call Monday morning, but he obtained the psychiatrist’s report only a few minutes before the ruling was due and did not have a chance to look over it so he delayed his decision until Thursday.

It was two months ago that police say the 23-year-old mother fired a shot into her 3-year-old son’s head then turned the gun on her 4-year-old daughter but the gun jammed so police say she drowned her daughter in the bathtub.

Relatives say that Thornton had a long history of mental illness, that she suffered from bipolar schizophrenia, and that she had not been taking her medication.

Last week, a court-appointed psychiatrist reported to Judge Hansen that Thornton was too mentally ill to understand what had happened and was not competent enough to even help her attorneys prepare for her trial.

If Judge Hansen rules Thursday that Thornton is not competent, she’ll be taken to a mental hospital in East Feliciana Parish where she will be treated until she is able to come back and stand trial, but her attorneys have indicated if that happens they will seek a ‘not guilty by reason of insanity’ verdict.

If she is convicted of killing her two children Thornton would face either life in prison or the death penalty.

CaptureOur city’s shortcomings are much more glaring after the tragedy we saw earlier this week in the Gert Town section of New Orleans.

23-year-old Chelsea Thorton killed her two children. She shot and murdered her 3-year-old son, and then when the gun jammed in the murder attempt of her 4-year-old daughter, she drowned her in the bathtub.  This is beyond a tragedy.

Chelsea Thorton apparently has a mental disorder.  Not only because she killed her kids but because family and friends have said as much.

New Orleans comes up woefully short when it comes to mental health staff, facilities, and treatment.  We all know this.  It’s been discussed and talked about since Katrina.  And we basically have done nothing about it. Throw in a public school system, that until recently, was the worst school in America, and you’ve got the perfect elixir to see such a tragedy take place in our city.

One also has to wonder why 23-year-old, unemployed, Chelsea Thorton was having kids in the first place?   Because she can?!?   Kids having babies, with little to no education, with a mental health condition?!?

Makes this weeks awful situation seem almost expected.

CaptureCops and their dogs scavenged the Gert Town area Thursday where horror struck a night before: the 3300 block of Audubon Court, where a 3 and 4-year-old brother and sister were allegedly murdered by their mother, 23-year-old Chelsea Thornton.

As Thornton sits in jail, stories of her mental illness are being circulated by family who attended Thornton’s first court hearing Thursday at Orleans Parish Criminal Court.

Reports indicate Thornton was a patient at area mental health facilities but was off her medication when she allegedlly shot her son dead and drowned her daughter in the family bathtub.

One place that could’ve helped–South East Louisiana Hospital–recently stopped servicing out patients, a byproduct of state budget cuts, and a serious governmental flaw says New Orleans mental health care expert and advocate Cecil Tebo.

“It’s like saying to the paraplegic, ‘You can’t have your wheelchair anymore,’ Tebo said.

Tebo, a clinical associate at Central City’s Exodus House, says since Hurricane Katrina, deep cuts have been making an already bad mental health care situation worse.

“The buck stops with our state, [which is] given the dollars to take care of those who can’t take care of themselves simply because of the extent of their own mental illness,” she said.

Chelsea Thornton was not issued bond Thursday.

She’s in Orleans Parish Prison charged with murder.

New Orleans police say she confessed to the killings.

captureChelsea Thornton appeared before a magistrate judge Thursday morning. No bond was set.

Her family was visibly shaken as she faced the charges.

CaptureNew Orleans Police are investigating the deaths of 3-year-old Kendal and 4-year-old Kelsey Adams in a Gert Town apartment Wednesday afternoon.

Police were summoned to the 3300 block of Audubon Court when the children’s grandmother called 911 after finding the children unresponsive in the bathtub.

An autopsy will confirm the cause of death for the two children, but NOLA.com is reporting that the children’s mother, Chelsea Thornton, shot her 3-year-old son, then drowned her 4-year-old daughter when her gun malfunctioned.

The NOLA.com story goes on to say the mother took a bus to a local hospital afterwards, complaining of abdominal pains and a headache.

Advertisement