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Murphy deemed 'not responsible' in son's death

A Buffalo woman will not face criminal punishment in the stabbing and choking death of her 7-year-old son last year.

Jessica Murphy will undergo a mental evaluation some time within the next 30 days. Monday morning in State Supreme Court, Judge Christopher Burns accepted Murphy's plea of "not responsible by reason of mental disorder" in the death of her son, Jacob Noe, in their Lovering Avenue home last May.

Prosecutors acknowledged in court that Murphy underwent two psychiatric evaluations - including one they commissioned - and both determined she is mentally ill, suffering from bipolar disorder.

The defense has never denied that Murphy killed her son but argued from the start that she was not of sound mental health. After the killing, she reportedly claimed she was saving her son from hell by taking his life.

"What Jessica did was a terrible thing," said defense attorney David Addelman following Monday morning's proceedings. "But she did not do it out of a sense of evil. She did not do it because she wanted her son to die. She did it because she was 'saving him,' or she thought she was saving him."

The Erie County District Attorney declined to be interviewed but the prosecuting attorney, Assistant District Attorney Paul Bonanno, agreed to the plea Monday morning, after which Judge Burns accepted it.

Murphy's upcoming mental evaluation will determine the degree to which she may be a danger, especially to her own self.

"After hearing from those doctors, Judge Burns will then decide what is the least restrictive environment under which she can get mental health treatment," Addelman said.

Michael Mroziak is an experienced, award-winning reporter whose career includes work in broadcast and print media. When he joined the WBFO news staff in April 2015, it was a return to both the radio station and to Horizons Plaza.
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