NBC 4 New York
A Surrogates Court judge ruled Wednesday that a Long Island mother who admitted to killing her three young children five years ago is not entitled to collect from their wrongful death settlements. Pei-Sze Cheng reports.
A Surrogates Court judge ruled Wednesday that a Long Island mother who admitted to killing her three young children five years ago is not entitled to collect from their wrongful death settlements.
Leatrice Brewer, 33, said in court papers that she deserves the wrongful death money given to her children's $350,000 estate by Nassau County because she was found not responsible for their deaths by reason of mental disease or defect and thus was not found guilty.
Brewer has been incarcerated at a psychiatric hospital upstate.
A lawyer for Innocent Demesyeux, the father of two of the children Brewer killed, said it would be absurd to allow her to make money off their deaths.
"There really can't be a circumstance where we allow her to profit from what she has done," Thomas Foley, the Garden City attorney who represents Demesyeux, said in court.
Judge Edward McCarty agreed Wednesday.
"It is one thing to say that the state should not imprison one who was insane when she committed the murder," McCarty said in court. "It is quite another to say that the insane murderer can financially profit from her crime. "
Last month, the I-Team learned that Brewer has given birth to a fourth child since she has been incarcerated. If McCarty finds that both Brewer and the fathers of the children who were killed are ineligible to collect the wrongful death money, her new baby could also be potentially considered a recipient, legal experts have said.
It is unclear who that baby’s father is, under what circumstances Brewer became pregnant, and who has current custody of the baby. The state Office of Mental Health, which oversees the facility where she is now being held, declined to comment, citing privacy laws.
The matter of whether the children's fathers abandoned them before their deaths, which would disqualify them from collecting the money, will be decided at a later date.