A Kokomo woman facing a murder charge for allegedly drowning her grandson in a bathtub may utilize a defense of insanity in court.
In late March, police arrested 56-year-old Helen Martin for allegedly drowning her 4-year-old grandson in her Kokomo home. At the time, when investigators asked her why she did it, court documents indicated she told them she “believed that she had been so depressed recently that she thought [her grandson] would be better off in heaven than to be with her.” Now, her mental health will be evaluated as part of a process to utilize her mental health as a defense in court.
According to court documents, last month a notice of defense of mental disease or defect was filed by Martin’s attorney. This filing served to notify the court that Martin intended to utilize a legal defense of mental disease or defect, or as it is referred to in Indiana code referenced in the filing, a defense of insanity.
The filing also called for the court to appoint two or three “competent disinterested psychiatrists, psychologists endorsed by the State Psychology Board as health services providers of psychology, or physicians, at least one of whom must be a psychiatrist, to examine [Martin].”
A few days later, Howard Superior IV Judge Hans Pate appointed Dr. Paul Roberts and Dr. George Parker to examine Martin. Roberts is a clinical psychologist based out of Kokomo, and Parker practices psychology in Indianapolis.
The case stems from March 28, when Kokomo Police Department officers responded to a home at 465 E. 400 S. in regards to the potential drowning of a 4-year-old male. Upon arrival, officers made contact with the homeowner and one of the guardians of the boy. That man simply told officers, “She drowned him,” in reference to Martin, his wife.
The 4-year-old boy was found in the bathroom, unconscious and unresponsive. Lifesaving measures were unsuccessful, and the boy was pronounced dead shortly thereafter.
In an interview with police, Martin said she and her husband had guardianship over the 4-year-old boy. At first, Martin allegedly told officers she “often lost her memory due to mental health issues” due to PTSD, depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder. However, court documents indicated officers confronted Martin with information that “memory loss was not known to be related to any of these described conditions.”
Martin eventually told officers that after her husband left the home, she remembered drawing a bath, getting into it with her grandson with her clothes still on, and drowning him by holding his head under the water, according to a probable cause affidavit.
During an interview, Martin also allegedly told an officer that “her reason for doing this was she believed that she had been so depressed recently that she thought [the boy] would be better off in heaven than to be with her.”
She was charged with murder and neglect of a dependent resulting in death. She has remained in the Howard County jail since her arrest on March 28 without bond. The case is set for a pretrial conference on August 6.