BRENTWOOD — A Seabrook mother facing attempted murder charges for allegedly force-feeding bleach to her two young children may claim she was insane as part of her defense, according to her lawyer.
Wendy Wright, 33, notified a judge that an insanity defense may be used in her attempted murder trial in Rockingham County Superior Court.
“If she acted as alleged in the indictments, she was not criminally responsible for such conduct because she was suffering from mental illness,” Public Defender Anthony Naro said in court papers.
Wright is accused of feeding bleach to her 7-year-old daughter and 6-year-old son on June 18. She allegedly told the children they were taking medicine but later told police she was trying to “save” them, according to police.
The insanity claim is one of two notices provided to a judge about Wright’s possible defenses. Naro also said in court papers that his client may rely on a “renunciation” defense because Wright’s actions had no “criminal purpose.”
Court documents say that Wright is currently free on $25,000 bail. The bail change was made after public defenders submitted sealed documents regarding Wright’s bail status in late September.
Wright is also facing two counts of attempted first-degree assault.
Indictments say Wright took “a substantial step” toward committing murder by instructing her children to drink the bleach.
If Wright formally enters an insanity plea, then the burden will be on prosecutors to prove that she was sane at the time of the offense.
Medical personnel found Wright unconscious at her home but she later told a police officer that she wanted to end her own life and “save” her children, according to a police affidavit.
“I don’t want to live. I really love my kids but I wanted to save them from everyone else,” Wright allegedly told a police officer who responded to her home.
A neighbor, Matthew Wooley, told police that Wright’s daughter “barged in (the) back door asking if her and her brother can stay here for an hour while (their) mother is sick,” according to court documents.
The girl told Wooley that her mother was “taking medicine” and made her and her brother ingest the medicine too, police said.
“I called the police when my wife and I smelled bleach, and the girl admitted her eyes burned because (her) mother made them take bleach,” Wooley told police.
The first-degree assault charges are class A felonies, punishable by up to 7½ to 15 years in state prison. An attempted-murder conviction could send Wright to prison for life. Wright is scheduled to go on trial next Sept. 15.