Dallas lawyer gives reasons for child murders

Corpus Christi Caller-Times, Thursday, August 12, 1999

Skip Simpson, a Dallas lawyer who works with suicide, child murders and mental health cases nationally, said there are several reasons, however twisted, why parents kill.

Some, like Barton and Smith, apparently wanted to prevent their children from suffering, or believed that they would be better off in heaven, Simpson said. Some kill for revenge against a significant other. Some kill accidentally and others kill because they are psychotic.

"There is almost always, in my experience, a mental health issue involved," said Simpson, who is working on a Youngstown, Ohio, case involving a woman who drowned her 3-year-old twin sons.

She had been diagnosed with manic depression with psychotic features prior to drowning her sons, he said.

"She wanted her and the children to go away because she didn't want her children to be crazy like her," Simpson said. "She stabbed herself in the heart, but she survived."

But the general public doesn't seem to have much sympathy for such cases, he said.

"Everyone loves children and they love mothers loving their children," he said. "And when the mothers do something that's completely against everything we know mothers should do, we are outraged."