Deliberations Begin in Baby-Severing Case

Jurors began deliberations Wednesday in the murder trial of a woman who cut off her baby daughter's arms.

Dena Schlosser, 37, pleaded innocent by reason of insanity. The defense wants her committed to a state mental hospital but prosecutors are seeking a life sentence and urged the jury Wednesday to hold her accountable.

Jurors deliberated about nine hours before adjourning. Deliberations were to resume Thursday morning.

Before the case went to the jury, Assistant District Attorney Bill Dobiyanski pointed to a bloody knife in an evidence box and crime scene photographs.

"This gives you this," Dobiyanski said in his closing arguments, indicating first the large knife and then the photos.

Police found Schlosser soaked in blood, holding a knife and listening to a hymn while 10-month-old Margaret, known as Maggie, lay dying in her crib in November 2004.

Defense attorney Bill Schultz said the case comes down to whether Schlosser was aware the attack was wrong. Psychiatrists had testified that she didn't know right from wrong at the time.

"Maybe you've got to hate her from the evidence," Schultz said in his closing argument as Schlosser stood beside him awkwardly, staring straight ahead. "Maybe you want to somehow find her guilty of this offense. ... The only way for the system to work is for the jury to do the right thing and look at the evidence."

The prosecutor contended that the experts who provided that evidence were swayed by the heinousness of the crime and had assumed she must not have known right from wrong. He also said the defense improperly blamed Schlosser's husband, church, social workers and others for her actions.

"Were all these entities failing when Dena Schlosser walked into the kitchen, bypassed the small knife and chose the instrument of death?" he said as he brought out the knife.