CLEVELAND – A woman found not guilty by reason of insanity in the bathtub drowning deaths of her two young children remains a threat to herself and others, a judge said Monday in ordering her to a mental hospital.
Amber Hill, who could have faced the death penalty if convicted of aggravated murder, cried and apologized for the girls' deaths but also was admonished by the judge.
Hill, 23, started her brief remarks in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court by saying, "I am truly blessed to be found not guilty by reason of ..."
Judge John Sutula promptly interrupted her.
"You are truly what? The law requires us to do a certain thing even though it may be difficult," he said. "In this particular case, justice required it. God didn't intervene on that or on behalf of your children."
Hill responded by saying she had recaptured her faith while in jail.
Sutula ordered her to the Northcoast Behavioral Healthcare mental health hospital in Northfield.
"My primary concern here is the safety of the community, and I'm not going to jeopardize that," Sutula said. "Hospitalization would allow Ms. Hill to be monitored closely."
The judge's decision was based on a report by the court's forensic psychiatrist who concluded that Hill remains a threat.
A three-judge panel last month said Hill suffered from a mental disorder on Oct. 1, 2007, and did not know it was wrong to kill her children — Janelle Cintron, 4, and Cecess Hill, 2.
Defense lawyers did not dispute that Hill drowned the girls in her apartment.
Defense attorney Fernando Mack had said Hill heard voices telling her to "do it, do it" on the day the children died.