Mother who killed one-year-old son by pushing him off bridge, attempted suicide, pleads insanity

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A young mother accused of pushing her 20-month-old son off a bridge into an eastern Pennsylvania river before jumping in herself will plead insanity, court documents reveal.

Johnesha Monae Perry, 20, is alleged to have kissed Zymeir Perry moments before she threw him to his death. She then scaled the railing and flung herself off the bridge in a failed murder-suicide bid, authorities said.

The pair both survived the initial fall in May, but her young son tragically passed away after fighting for his life in hospital for six days.

Perry has since been charged with criminal homicide and child endangerment and Lehigh County prosecutors say they plan to seek the death penalty if she is convicted of first-degree murder.

Now new court documents reveal she is planning to pursue an insanity or mental health defense at trial.

Defense attorneys said in a recent motion that their client has a long history of mental illness, The Morning Call reported.

Public defender Kimberly Makoul said Perry has had ‘severe and substantial mental infirmities’ — including paranoid schizophrenia and delusional disorder — since she was a teenager.

‘It’s going to be an emotional case for the defense, quite frankly, and for the defendant,’ she told CBS.

Attorney Gavin Holihan, another member of Perry’s defense team, called the prosecutor’s decision to seek the death penalty ‘unfortunate.’

‘It’s an extreme penalty. Reasonable people will agree that this is not that type of case,’ Holihan told CBS.

Makoul wrote that lawyers are still investigating Perry’s mental condition and plan to call a psychologist as an expert witness.

Shocked witness described how Perry had taken her child out of the stroller then allegedly threw him over the Hamilton Street Bridge.

She then said to have climbed over the railing and jumped off the side into the river below.

Zymeir was found 700 yards downstream from the bridge in Allentown, Pennsylvania, after the botched murder-suicide bid on May 3.

The youngster had been in the water five minutes before officers jumped in to save him.

Allentown police officer Joseph Ianetta pulled the child out and performed mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, while a colleague performed CPR, it was reported by the Morning Call of Allentown.

Sadly, the young child passed away six day later.

Perry, who survived the 52ft fall, was able to reach the shore with a broken arm before collapsing under the bridge.

She was arraigned from her hospital bed and didn’t have an attorney.  Her bail was set at $100,000.

Allentown police Capt. William Reinik told local reporters that Perry was competent at the time of her arrest and knew what she was doing.

He also commended his officers for going into the river to try and save the baby.

A number of suicides have been recorded at the Hamilton Street Bridge over the years.

Source: The DailyMail

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