Judge finds Auburn mother guilty of killing toddler

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BANGOR — A Superior Court judge on Monday rejected the insanity defense of a woman who admitted killing her toddler last year and found Leanna Norris guilty of murder.

Norris, 25, of Auburn, formerly of Stetson, repeatedly admitted to investigators that on the evening of June 23, 2013, she gave her daughter, Loh Melody Grenda, three times the normal dose of an antihistamine, put duct tape over her mouth and nose, then smothered her with a blanket over her face so she would not have to watch her die, according to trial testimony.

The mother then took the rest of the antihistamine and swallowed 200 Advil pills in a botched suicide attempt.

Justice Ann Murray, who presided over Norris’ jury-waived trial in October and November at the Penobscot Judicial Center in Bangor, concluded that “Ms. Norris knew right from wrong and had the ability to apply her knowledge of right from wrong to the action she took when killing Loh.”

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The judge also concluded that “while Ms. Norris’ judgment was impaired, all of the facts set forth above reflect the behavior and actions of someone who has a perception and understanding of reality that is not grossly or demonstrably impaired.”

Norris faces between 25 years and life in prison. A sentencing date has not been set.

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