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Mother who killed her baby in 1987 wants status restored to 'sane'

December 1, 2010 | 11:40 am

A mother who claimed she was suffering from postpartum psychosis when she killed her 43-day-old son in 1987 was in Orange County court Wednesday to try to have her mental status changed so she can be released from medical supervision.

Sheryle Lynn Massip, 46, now remarried and known as Sheryle Lynn Smith, was convicted by a jury in 1988 for the murder of her infant son, Michael. The conviction was subsequently set aside by a judge, who determined she was not guilty by reason of insanity.

Prosecutors said Massip had brutally murdered her infant son on her 23rd birthday by first throwing him in front of a coming car. When the car didn’t hit the baby, she took him home and bludgeoned him with a blunt object.

When the baby still did not die, she drove him to a remote residential area in Fullerton, placed him under the front tire of her car and drove over his head.

Massip then picked up the crushed baby’s body, wrapped him in a blanket and dumped him in a trash can, prosecutors said. When her husband came home, she told him the baby had been kidnapped at gunpoint by an African American woman.

Police immediately began a search. But when they confronted Massip with inconsistencies in her story, she confessed to the murder.

Now Massip is hoping to convince a jury she no longer poses a danger to the health and safety of others as a result of her mental illness. If Massip's mental health status were changed from insane to sane, she would no longer have to continue outpatient psychiatric treatment.

The Orange County district attorney’s office argues her continued supervision and treatment is necessary to ensure the safety of the public.

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-- Ching-Ching Ni

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