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Non-Jury Trial for Buffalo Woman Accused of Killing Baby Daughter

By Eileen Buckley

Buffalo, NY – The non-jury murder trial of a Buffalo woman accused of killing her eight-month- old baby last year began Monday.

It was a shocking murder that witnesses say occurred on the sidewalk outside a Kenmore Avenue apartment in North Buffalo last May. Kirsten Vanderlinde, 36, has waived her right to a jury trial. She's charged with second degree murder in the death of her daughter.

Since her arrest, Vanderlinde has been treated for mental illness. Buffalo Attorney John Nuchereno is defending her. He says mental illness will be her defense.

"Since Kirsten was in her early 20s, she began a string of over 15 hospital visits that were voluntary," Nuchereno said. "She experienced psychotic moments and episodes. She was hearing voices and auditory and visual hallucinations. This has been going on for well over a decade. She has had numerous diagnoses of bipolar disease, manic depression and schizophrenia."

Vanderlinde is back on anti-psychotic medications. But at the time of the alleged murder, Nuchereno said she had stop taking the drugs.

"What is misunderstood by the public is that once a person is found not responsible that they are going to walk out the door. That is not true at all," Nuchereno said. "Frankly, they can be held at a high level security facility for the rest of their lives."

Her attorney says Vanderlinde made her own decision not to have a jury. Nuchereno says without a jury, he expects the trail to last about five days.