By Caleb Robinson
On March 9th 2022 Jacinda Marie Decaro was formally arrested on a warrant signed on January 10Th 2022 by Judge Amy Carter. Decaro is accused of killing her young daughter by intentionally giving her a lethal does of Diphenhydramine, which is commonly referred to as Benadryl.
This is a capital offense that carries with it a maximum sentence of life in prison or death.
In order to prove this offense, the prosecutors are going to have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the victim is actually deceased, the death was caused by the criminal act of the defendant and the action that resulted in the death of the defendant was premeditated.
Typically, in these cases there is little dispute as to the fact of whether the victim is actually deceased. If this case were to go to trial the defense would first like to argue that the actions that Jacinda Decaro completed were not the cause of her daughter’s death.
The defense is likely to argue that the death of Jacinda Decaro’s daughter was the result of some other underlying or preexisting medical condition that made her especially susceptible to the affects of Diphenhydramine and this is an accidental overdose.
If defense is not able to successfully argue that Jacinda Decaro did not cause the death of her daughter defense would be seeking a reduced that did not include premeditation. This would result in a severally reduced sentence and does not carry the same potential punishments of Premeditated 1st Degree murder.
Other routes that defense would likely take through their representation of Jacinda Decaro would be through plea negotiations or mental health filings.
In any criminal case a skilled Criminal Defense Attorney would seek to provide what is called mitigating evidence to the prosecutor. Mitigation evidence is evidence that a defense attorney would use to convince the state to give a reduced offer or sentence. Typical examples include the positive things the Defendant has in their life, testimony about their good character, documentation of their work, mental health evaluations and evidence that the Defendant is remorseful or would wants to atone for their alleged crime.
The last avenue that defense counsel is likely to try would be to argue about the Defendants mental state and convince the state and the Judge that this behavior that the Defendant has been accused of doing is based on a mental health condition. This would be done by retaining experts to evaluate the defendant and attempt to determine the mental state of the Defendant at the time of the event and to evaluate whether they are mentally able to stand trial.
If faced with a serious criminal case, it is very important to have an experienced attorney on your side who will explore every possible defense to your case.