Jury finds mother guilty of killing five-month-old daughter

Posted at 12:28 PM, May 07, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-24 21:31:42-04

A jury found a Falls County mother guilty of capital murder on Monday. 

Dung Ngoc Thi-Zeluff, 35, was found guilty of capital murder in the death of her daughter Emily after a four-day trial. The conviction for the capital offense automatically gave her a sentence of life in prison without parole.

During closing arguments, Falls County District Attorney Jodi Gilliam said Zeluff intentionally strangled her daughter when her husband was not at home. She added that Zeluff's medical records did not indicate she was suffering from Parkinson's Disease and depression. However, Gilliam said there were several instances she threatened to harm the baby.

"I did never believe she suffered from a severe mental disease or defect that caused to her to do what she did that night. All of the evidence pointed to the fact that she knew what she did was wrong," Falls County District Attorney Jodi Gilliam said.

Zeluff's attorney asked the jury to find her not guilty by reason of insanity. He painted a different picture to the jury, explaining the 35-year-old had who suffered from Parkinson's Disease had depression, which worsened when she became pregnant. He explained the mother tried to commit suicide a few times, including two days before the death of baby Emily. He also explained Zeluff  had post-partum psychosis was in a mentally delusional state of mind when she killed her baby.

Zeluff and her family in the courtroom did not show any emotion when the judge read the verdict. Zeluff's defense attorney declined to comment after the jury reached its decision.

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