Mother confesses to slashing throats of children, dousing them with lighter fluid

A Massachusetts woman who slashed her two children’s throats before dousing them with lighter fluid and setting fire to their apartment was sentenced Friday to 20 to 25 years in prison.

Tanicia Goodwin, 27, of Salem, pleaded guilty to armed assault with intent to murder, arson and other charges during a hearing in Salem Superior Court.

The mother of two was ordered to not have contact with any children, including her own, 8-year-old Jamaal and 3-year-old Erica.

Authorities said firefighters responding to the blaze in March 2012 discovered that vents and sprinklers in the apartment had been covered and the front doorknob had been removed.

Goodwin then went to the police station and told authorities, ‘I’m sorry, babies. I did what I had to do to protect my children,’ prosecutors said.

Both children survived and are now living with relatives. They did not attend the sentencing. Prosecutors said Jamaal and Erica still suffer emotionally from the aftereffects of the attack.

When given the chance to speak, Ms Goodwin told Judge James Lang that she has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and is now on medication that makes her thoughts ‘more clear.’

Her lawyer, Denise Regan, said Goodwin grew up in abusive and neglectful conditions and was only 8 or 9 years old when she began receiving treatment for mental illness.

Lang said Goodwin’s actions were shocking.

‘I’m frankly at a loss for words, really, to articulate the heinous nature of what occurred here,’ Lang said.

Assistant District Attorney Melissa Woodward said Goodwin attacked 8-year-old Jamaal as he was watching a movie on television and eating a bowl of Cinnamon Toast Crunch for dinner, telling him that he had lived too long and cutting his throat so deep his trachea was exposed.

Goodwin then told Jamaal to give a goodbye hug to his little sister, who was lying in a pool of blood after having her neck slashed, Woodward said.

The mother then doused both children with lighter fluid, set a fire and at some point had cut her own neck.

‘This was by all accounts a double murder with a pitiful feigned suicide attempt by the defendant,’ Woodward said.

On March 18, 2012, a responding firefighter found Goodwin naked and wet outside her smoking apartment, according to police reports. Jamaal was sitting inside against a wall, covered in lighter fluid and struggling to breathe through the hole in his throat.

Erica was bleeding and abandoned on a neighbor’s couch.

Goodwin, meanwhile, walked barefoot to the Salem police station and allegedly told officers she’d hurt her children to protect them. In her cell that night, she continuously repeated, ‘I’m sorry, my babies,’ according to a police report.

Goodwin’s cousin Wayne Cox is currently raising Jamaal in Atlanta, while Erica is being raised by her biological father.

Cox told prosecutions for an impact statement presented in court Friday that Jamaal does not let anyone touch his throat, will not zip coats past his collar and is afraid to play outside alone, reported the Boston Herald. 

Although the boy is an honor student, he is very anxious. And every time he sees a listing on TV for ‘Men from Mars’ he says, ‘This is the movie that was on when mom cut me.’

Source: The DailyMail

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