February 11, 2016.
J. Tzovarras, Esq., Bangor, for appellant Leanna M. Norris.
T. Mills, Attorney General, and Donald W. Macomber, Asst.
Atty. Gen., Office of the Attorney General, Augusta, for
appellee State of Maine.
J. Tzovarras, Esq., for appellant Leanna M. Norris.
W. Macomber, Asst. Atty. Gen., for appellee State of Maine.
SAUFLEY, C.J., and ALEXANDER, MEAD, GORMAN, JABAR, HJELM, and
[¶1] Leanna M. Norris appeals from a
judgment of conviction for murder, 17-A M.R.S. §
201(1)(A) (2015), entered by the trial court (Penobscot
County, A. Murray, J. ) after a jury-waived trial.
There is no dispute that on June 23, 2013, Norris caused the
death of her two-year-old daughter by giving her a large dose
of diphenhydramine, commonly known as " Benadryl,"
and then by physically suffocating her. Following a dispute
with the child's father, Norris formed a plan to cause
her daughter's death, and over the course of
approximately two hours drove from Auburn, to Waterville, to
Palmyra, and to Newport, making stops along the way in
furtherance of her plan and ultimately suffocating her
[¶2] Norris contends that because she was
suffering from major depressive disorder and other mental
health problems when she caused her daughter's death, the
trial court erred by (1) finding that she did not prove, by a
preponderance of the evidence, her affirmative defense that
she was not criminally responsible by reason of a mental
disease or defect, see 17-A M.R.S. § § 39,
101(2) (2015); and (2) finding, beyond a reasonable doubt,
that her actions in killing her daughter were intentional or
knowing. Because it was the trial court's responsibility
to decide the weight and sufficiency of the evidence, and the
record demonstrates no clear error in the trial court's
findings, we affirm.
[¶3] The following facts are taken directly
from the trial court's decision, and these facts, which
the court found to have been proved beyond a reasonable
doubt, are supported by competent record evidence.
See State v. Herzog, 2012 ME 73, ¶
¶ 2, 13, 44 A.3d 307.
[¶4] Norris, the child, and the child's
father were living together at an apartment in Auburn.
Between June 19 and June 23, 2013, Norris and the father had
" argued, ended their relationship, resumed or attempted
to resume their relationship, and then ended the relationship
again." In the afternoon or evening of June 23, the
father left the home. " Norris decided that she would
suffocate [the child] and then kill herself, and she wanted
to be near her parents' home when she did ...