Bellefontaine mom’s psychological eval order heads to appeals court

Brittany Pilkington

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Brittany Pilkington

The lawyers for a Bellefontaine mom accused of killing her three sons have appealed a judge’s ruling that would force their client to undergo a psychiatric evaluation.

Brittany Pilkington, 25, is charged with three counts of aggravated murder in connection with the death of her three sons — infant Niall in July 2014, 4-year-old Gavin in April 2015 and infant Noah on Aug. 18, 2015. She is accused of smothering the boys to death.

If convicted she could face the death penalty.

EXTRA: Pilkington murder trial pushed back again

The underlying question the courts are trying to decide right now is whether an alleged confession by Pilkington that was recorded by police during an interview should be allowed as evidence during a jury trial. The recordings appear to show the young mother crying and she can be heard telling police she smothered all three sons by covering their faces with blankets and “put pressure” on them for anywhere from 30 seconds to a minute, according to the video that was played in court.

The defense has filed a few motions to suppress the evidence from being heard because they say that confession isn’t true. They first accused police of using illegal interrogation tactics and not respecting Pilkington’s constitutional rights.

Logan County Common Pleas Judge Mark O’Connor decided that police did use coercive activity to get an admission from Pilkington.

READ: Fate of taped alleged Pilkington confession lies in judge’s hands

“This is due to their length, the fact that five officers over the course of time participated in the interrogation or the polygraph examination, that the interrogation and most damning admissions were made at the end of this lengthy interrogation and after the defendant was yelled at by one officer with the chief of police conducting the confrontational examination,” O’Connor’s decision says.

However, O’Connor decided that the tactics used by police didn’t critically impair Pilkington’s ability to give a statement and ruled to allow the recording to be played to a jury.

Then in July Pilkington’s lawyers submitted evidence that two doctors found that she suffers from brain damage from lead poisoning as a child and abuse. The evaluations were conducted by Dr. Jeffrey Madden, a neuropsychologist who previously taught at Ohio State University College of Medicine, and Dr. Howard Fradkin, a psychologist who specializes in sexual trauma.

MORE: Doctors: Bellefontaine mom Brittany Pilkington has brain damage

The judge reopened the motion to have the recording suppressed. Prosecutors sought an evaluation because Pilkington’s “state of mind is at issue,” according to an entry from O’Connor.

The judge ruled that the law allows for Pilkington to undergo the evaluation, despite the defense objecting. Defense attorneys have appealed the order for the evaluation to the Ohio Third District Court of Appeals.

Logan County Prosecutor Eric Stewart and Pilkington’s defense attorney Marc Triplett couldn’t be reached for comment by the Springfield News-Sun for this article.

RELATED: Judge reopens Pilkington motion to suppress confession

A decision from the appeals isn’t expected for at least a month.

The case against her has been slowly moving through the courts since she was charged. Trial dates have been pushed back multiple times and the appeal will further delay a trial from happening.

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