Duxbury mother pleads not guilty as prosecutors describe a horrifying scene in the family home

A Duxbury mother strangled her three children with exercise ropes before throwing herself out of a second story window, prosecutors told a Plymouth District Court judge during an arraignment on Tuesday.

Appearing virtually from her hospital bed, Lindsay Clancy pleaded not guilty to two counts of murder, three counts of strangulation, and assault and battery with a deadly weapon.

Clancy, 32, is being treated for injuries she received when she jumped from the window on Jan. 24. A judge ruled she may remain at an unnamed Boston hospital, and not enter state custody, while she recovers from her injuries.

Two of her children, 5-year-old Cora Clancy and 3-year-old Dawson Clancy were pronounced dead at the hospital on Jan. 24. Her third child, 8-month-old Callan Clancy died three days later at Boston's Children's Hospital. The EMTs who responded to the scene found the children in the basement of the home, according to Assistant District Attorney Jennifer Sprague.

Sprague said Clancy planned to kill her children and deliberately sent her husband to get takeout at a restaurant far enough away that would give her time to do so. Sprague said on the day the children were killed, Clancy took them to the pediatrician, who did not see any unusual signs.

"She planned these murders, gave herself the time and privacy to commit these murders, and then strangled each child in the place where they should’ve felt the safest: at home with their mother," Sprague said.

Clancy was discharged from a psychiatric program at McLean Hospital on Jan. 5, and there was never any indication that she was a danger to herself or others, according to Sprague.

Clancy's attorney, Kevin Reddington, said his client was overmedicated for postpartum mood disorder at the time of the children's deaths. Reddington said Clancy was taking more than a dozen psychiatric medications.

“This is clearly a tragedy,” he said. “She was thoroughly destroyed by those medications.”

Reddington has previously told The Boston Globe that between last October and January, Clancy was prescribed 13 different psychiatric medications: zolpidem (also known as Ambien); clonazepam (sold under the brand name Klonopin); diazepam (sold under the brand name Valium); fluoxetine (sold under the brand name Prozac); lamotrigine (sold under the brand name Lamictil); lorazepam (sold under the brand name Ativan); mirtazapine (sold under the brand name Remeron); quetiapine fumarate (sold under the brand name Seroquel); sertraline (sold under the brand name Zoloft); trazodone; hydroxyzine; amitriptyline and buspirone.

"Lindsay loved her children," Reddington said during the arraignment. "This is clearly a product of mental illness."

He asked that Clancy be allowed to await trial outside of prison, saying she's essentially paralyzed and needs to remain in the hospital. He suggested she be kept at her parents' home with a GPS monitor, or be allowed to stay at the Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital or the Worcester Recovery Center and Hospital.

Sprague asked that Clancy be sent to the Department of Correction medical facility at Lemuel Shattuck Hospital, but defense attorney Reddington said the facility is "dismal and dark" and Clancy should be allowed to continue to receive medical care at a Boston hospital.

The court order said Clancy could remain at the Boston hospital where she's being treated, and could transfer to rehabilitation facility when medically warranted. She must also undergo mental health treatment. No bail was set.

At a court hearing Friday, a judge allowed Reddington's request for forensic psychologist Dr. Paul Zeizel to evaluate Clancy. After Tuesday's arraignment, Zeizel said Clancy is "heavily medicated" and he is continuing to evaluate her.

"I've been meeting with Mrs. Clancy for the past few days, multiple hours each day," Zeizel said. "What I can say without going too far is that her affect is absolutely flattened. She's in a very surreal state. It feels dreamlike to her, as she's described to me on multiple occasions."

After the arraignment, Plymouth County District Attorney Tim Cruz said he respected judge Canavan's decision. Cruz said his office and a grand jury will review medical reports and other evidence as the case against Clancy goes forward.

"My role is to look at the facts, to look at the evidence and to apply it to the law and try to make sure we can make the best decision for the Clancey family, for the town of Duxbury," Cruz said. "This is a terrible, tragic, sad event and it's something that we can't let go of. This is about three little kids."

Police say when Clancy's husband came home from getting takeout on Jan. 24, he called 911.

Patrick Clancy, in a statement through an online fundraiser post, said he has forgiven his wife and wishes "that she can somehow find peace."

"A lot of people have said they can't imagine and they're right, there's absolutely nothing that can prepare you. The shock and pain is excruciating and relentless," Patrick Clancy wrote. "Cora, Dawson and Callan were the essence of my life, and I'm completely lost without them."

Resources: You can reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline by dialing 988 and the Samaritans Statewide Hotline (call or text) at 1-877-870-HOPE (4673). Call2Talk can be accessed by calling Massachusetts 211 or 508-532-2255 (or text c2t to 741741).

This article was originally published on February 07, 2023.


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Deborah Becker Host/Reporter
Deborah Becker is a senior correspondent and host at WBUR. Her reporting focuses on mental health, criminal justice and education.



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