Assistant DA: Case of Walmart baby exposes problem in state law

Kyandrea Thomas (Source: EBRSO)
Kyandrea Thomas (Source: EBRSO)

NEW ROADS, LA (WAFB) - The case of the mother who threw her baby into a Walmart trash can may expose a problem in state law, according to a prosecutor in the case.

Assistant District Attorney Tony Clayton believes the mother, 34-year-old Kyandrea Thomas, may be mentally unstable. If that is the case, he worries the woman may not be treated fairly by the courts.

Police say Thomas gave birth to a baby in a New Roads Walmart bathroom Friday evening. They say she then threw the baby into the trash. As it stands, Thomas faces attempted second degree murder charges, which could bring up to a 50-year prison sentence.

"People with mental defects ought to not suffer the full force of the law. It's for people who knowingly and intelligently commit crimes," Clayton said.

However, proving insanity under Louisiana law is complicated. In the Bayou State, insanity can only be used as a defense if the person is believed to not know the difference between right and wrong at the time of the crime. In other words, the definition of insanity is based on a single act, not the person's
overall mental health.

"There are people out there with mental defects. We all know that. Mental disease, we've got to approach it differently," Clayton said.

By comparison, in many other states, the law looks beyond the scope of just the incident itself, taking into account mental defects. Clayton believes this case may be an example of why Louisiana should follow other states' leads.

"If you have some type of mental defect that doesn't allow you to formulate that requisite intent, then I think we should look at that differently," Clayton said.

Any change to state law, however, would require an act of the legislature. Clayton said he wants a grand jury to select charges against the mother. That could happen sometimes in the next few months.

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