Mother confessed to slitting throats of her four children avoids prison, sent to mental hospital

A Tennessee mother charged with fatally stabbing four of her children was taken to a mental health institute after a brief court appearance Tuesday.

Shanynthia Gardner, 29, is accused of slitting  the throats of her three daughters and one son, all younger than 5, on Friday. The youngest child was just six-months-old.

Her 7-year-old son escaped the attack in their suburban Memphis apartment.

Gardner was taken to Memphis Mental Health Institute after she went before a judge in a video hearing.

Court documents claim that she confessed to the father of the children that she was responsible for their murders.

Seeing the judge: Shanynthia Gardner, 29, appeared in court via video on Tuesday (above) after being charged in the deaths of her four children aged 4 to just six months

Tragedy: The victims were 4-year-old Tallen Gardner (top right); 3-year-old Sya Gardner (top left); 2 year-old Sahvi Gardner (bottom left); and 6-month old Yahzi Gardner (right)

The Institute is a state psychiatric hospital where most patients have ‘a severe and persistent mental illness and are hospitalized on an emergency, involuntary basis,’ according to a state website.

Gardner, who was wearing an orange jail jumpsuit, did not answer Judge L. Lambert Ryan’s questions during her hearing.

She has been charged with first-degree murder, child abuse and child neglect in the deaths of children.

Ryan waived Gardner’s arraignment and scheduled a hearing for July 11. Attorney Craig Morton told the judge he is representing Gardner.

Outside court on Tuesday, Morton declined to talk about the facts in the case, saying: ‘It’s too early to be making comments on a case of this nature.’

Both he and prosecutor Jennifer Nichols plan to file a motion seeking to preserve evidence in the case, including information gathered from social media.

A handful of Gardner’s relatives went to the courthouse, but they declined comment to reporters.

Authorities have not said why they think Gardner killed her children while investigators have been looking into whether she has mental health problems.

She acknowledged killing the children in a phone conversation to their father, Martin Gardner according to court documentsFriends and neighbors of the family have held vigils to remember the children. A GoFundMe page has also been set up for the family.

‘It’s devastating,’ said Nichols, who also declined to discuss details of the case.

‘It’s important not just to our office, but to the whole community.’

Sheriff’s officials say Gardner cut her children’s throats Friday afternoon at her apartment in a gated community in unincorporated Shelby County.

She acknowledged killing them in a phone conversation to their father, Martin Gardner according to court documents in the case.

A large butcher knife with what appeared to be blood on it was also found in the apartment.

When deputies arrived at the apartment, they found Gardner with superficial cuts to her neck and wrists.

The victims were identified as 4-year-old Tallen Gardner; 3-year-old Sya Gardner; 2 year-old Sahvi Gardner; and 6-month old Yahzi Gardner.

The fifth child, 7-year-old Dallen Clayton, escaped the attack,. He is Gardner’s son from a previous marriage.

Dallen was able to flee the apartment and tell someone that his mother was stabbing his siblings.

Source: The DailyMail

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