A mother who admitted killing her baby girl by severing the child's arms was guided by a Bible passage in which Jesus refers to cutting off body parts to cast away sin, the woman's attorney said today.
Dena Schlosser, a 35-year-old housewife with a history of mental illness, has referred to the New Testament passage since the killings, said attorney David Haynes. He told The Associated Press that he believes the passage influenced her method in killing 10-month-old Margaret.
In the Book of Matthew, Jesus says, "If thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell."
Schlosser was charged with capital murder Nov. 22, after she told a 911 operator she had severed her baby's arms. Police found her in the living room, covered in blood, still holding a knife and listening to a church hymn.
Haynes, a Christian who teaches Bible classes at his church, said Schlosser was severely mentally ill at the time of the killing and misinterpreted Christ's words. Haynes believes Christ was simply encouraging followers to cast out anything that came between them and God.
"Many things can be justified if you chop a couple of verses out of the Bible and say 'OK, these words mean what they say and say what they mean," Haynes said.
Somebody please explain that to 51% of the American population, which is on the fast track to becoming the collective antagonist of a third-rate Stephen King potboiler: "Police found her in the living room, covered in blood, still holding a knife and listening to a church hymn."