Jury: Mother who strangled baby sane at time of murder

SAN DIEGO (CNS) – An Ethiopian woman who strangled her 7-month-old son,
then told police that he fell out of a third-story window in Normal Heights,
was sane at the time of the killing, a jury determined Tuesday.

Zewoinesh Badasso, 35, was convicted last month of first-degree murder
and felony child abuse. She faces 25 years to life in prison when she is
sentenced April 11.

Deputy District Attorney Nicole Rooney told jurors in her opening
statement in the trial's guilt phase that Badasso strangled her son in two ways
— with her hands and with a ligature — on Sept. 7, 2012.

Rooney said Badasso grabbed, squeezed and shook the baby before killing
him.

Prior to the killing, Badasso told a therapist that she had anger
issues, a history of violence and had difficulty controlling her impulses,
according to Rooney.

The boy — named David — was found about 5 p.m by two passersby in an
alley below a third-story apartment where Badasso was staying.

“Please let that be a doll and not a baby,” one of the passersby said
as they came upon the child, Rooney told the jury.

The person who spotted the body said the mother seemed calm and
“uncaring” as they called 911 to try and save her child's life.

Badasso told police she accidentally dropped the baby while trying to
open a window. An autopsy revealed he had been strangled, “murdered by his own
mother,” Rooney said.

Defense attorney Amy McDonald told the jury that Badasso was beaten
daily by her father in Ethiopia, leaving her blind in one eye, an at 12 years
old was held down and had her female genitalia mutilated.

She was also left with memory issues and tended to “disassociate”
herself from her problems, her attorney said.

Badasso escaped from Ethiopia and came to the United States in 2000, but
suffered from major depression and tried to kill herself at least twice,
McDonald said.

The defendant had two miscarriages, began to hear voices and was raped
by a stranger in 2011, resulting in her becoming pregnant with David, her
attorney said.

The defendant's doctors and therapists disagreed on whether Badasso
should be on medication for anxiety, depression and lack of sleep, McDonald
said.

Badasso finally took some prescribed medication and went into a
“disassociate state” the day of the killing, feeling like she was in a dream,
her attorney said.

“It's horrifying,” McDonald told the jury, saying her client remembers
few details about the killing.

McDonald said Badasso felt helpless watching herself kill her child and
imagined that he fell out of the window.

Categories: KUSI