MINEOLA, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) — A judge has ruled that a Long Island mother found not guilty because of mental disease in the 2008 drowning of her three children cannot inherit money from their $350,000 estate.
Attorney Peter Kelly said Leatrice Brewer, 33, wanted a share of the kids’ estate as a way of blocking their fathers from getting the money.
Nassau County Surrogate Court Judge Edward McCarty said Brewer should not get to profit from her crime, 1010 WINS’ Mona Rivera reported.
Brewer sat stone-faced as the judge issued his decision, WCBS 880’s Sophia Hall reported.
Her bid hinged on whether her case applied to New York’s “Son of Sam” law. It was enacted in the 1970s following the capture of serial killer David Berkowitz and sought to bar him and other criminals from profiting from their crimes.
WEB EXTRA: Judge’s Statement (pdf)
The judge decided Brewer is not entitled to a share of the proceeds from two lawsuits the children’s fathers settled with the county; they claimed social workers failed to properly monitor the woman and children.
Her lawyers said she did not want her two common law husbands to profit from the murder, and her family, who supports her, said the money would go to repay the state for psychiatric treatment, CBS 2’s Jennifer McLogan reported.
Attorney Tom Foley, who represents the father of two of the dead children, hailed the judge’s decision.
“Due to the fact that she created this money that was available through her wrong actions, her wrongful actions, she shouldn’t recover. And that’s basically what the judge’s findings were,” Foley said.
“The judge chose to call this the Brewer rule, and basically the finding is, if you are involved in the wrongful death of your children, or wrongful death of anyone, you cannot profit,” Foley added.
“She made sufficient admissions that she knew what she was doing,” attorney Kenneth Weinberg added.
Caseworkers visited Brewer’s apartment two days before the killings and found no one home but neglected to schedule an immediate follow-up visit. Two social workers were later suspended.
State Child Protective Services had to pay the settlement for not providing proper care to the children.
Brewer slashed her 6-year-old daughter Jewell’s throat before drowning her, as well as her younger brothers Michael, 5, and 1-year-old Innocent in 2008, believing she was saving them from the deadly effects of voodoo.
Hours after the killings, she survived two suicide attempts — swallowing a concoction of home cleaning fluids and later jumping out a second-story window.
She was found not guilty because of mental disease or defect in the deaths of the children, ages 1, 5 and 6, and was committed to a state psychiatric hospital.
If the judge ruled in Brewer’s favor, the money would’ve gone directly to New York State for the cost of her care.
Brewer gave birth to a fourth child last week in a psychiatric hospital, according to multiple published reports.
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