Deanna Laney murders

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The Deanna Laney murders were those, by Deanna Laney, of her two oldest sons, 8-year-old Joshua and 6-year-old Luke, by stoning. In a 2004 trial, she was found not guilty by reason of insanity.


Laney woke up one night in May 2003 and took Joshua to the yard of her home in New Chapel Hill, Texas where she lifted a huge rock over her head and brought it down with all her strength against his skull, killing him. She did the same to Luke. Later on, she tried to kill her youngest son, 14-month-old Aaron, in the same way. He survived, but suffered severe head injuries.[1]

During the investigation, Laney claimed God ordered her to bash in her sons' heads. She was a member of an Assemblies of God church, where she sang in the choir.[2] A year earlier, she had told her fellow churchgoers that the world was coming to an end and that God had told her to get her house in order. Later on, she told a psychiatrist that she hoped she and Andrea Yates would end up working together as God's only witnesses at the end of the world.[1]

Five mental health experts were consulted in Laney's case: two each by the prosecution and defense, and one by the judge. All of them arrived at the conclusion that she suffered from psychotic delusions which made her unable to know right from wrong at the time of the killings.[3] A Smith County court found her not guilty by reason of insanity. She was committed to Kerrville State Hospital for eight years until her release in May 2012. However, she is subject to a list of conditions, including that she have no unsupervised contact with minors and submit to regular drug tests to ensure that she takes required medication.[4]


  1. ^ a b Velez-Mitchell, Jane (2007). Secrets Can Be Murder: What America’s Most Sensational Crimes Tell Us About Ourselves. New York City: Simon & Schuster. ISBN 0743299361.
  2. ^ "Texas woman, Member of Assembly of God, says God Told her to Kill Sons". Archived from the original on 2008-12-23. Retrieved 2010-02-17.
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