A mother was found guilty Monday of killing her three daughters last year when the little girls were found stabbed to death inside their family home.
Carol Coronado waived her right to a jury trial, choosing instead to have a judge decide her fate. Coronado pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity, specifically citing postpartum psychosis.
“She lost her mind,” her husband, Rudy Coronado said outside of the courtroom after the verdict was read. “She lost her mind.”
Top news of the day
Rudy Coronado is standing by his wife Carol, believing that she suffered from postpartum psychosis when she stabbed their three young daughters to death last May at their home near Torrance.
“I lost my whole family — my three little girls and Carol,” he said. “She didn’t mean to do that. I strongly believe that.”
Carol Coronado showed no emotion as a judge found her guilty of three counts of first degree murder in the stabbing deaths of 2-year-old Yazmine, 16-month-old Sophia, and 3-month-old Xenya.
Prosecutors argued she killed the girls to get back at her husband, who they said had threatened to divorce her.
The judge found her not guilty of attempting to murder her own mother, who took a knife away from her when she discovered the deaths.
The defense had asked that 32-year-old Coronado be found not guilty by reason of insanity, portraying her as an overwhelmed mother who got little help raising her children.
During her last court appearance a week ago, Carol Coronado had a breakdown and had to be dragged from the courtroom kicking and screaming and crying out for her mother, husband and children.
“It was just a psychotic break, and it’s something the doctors say you recover from quickly with medication and a little bit of time,” said Steve Allen, her defense attorney.
The horrific deaths of the young girls cast a national spotlight on the issue of postpartum illness, and a documentary film crew is following the family throughout the trial.
Rudy Coronado has surprised some by supporting his wife despite his grief.
“I sit there and think about my little girls and shrivel up and cry like a little kid,” he said.
The penalty phase of the trial begins Tuesday. The District Attorney’s office is not seeking the death penalty, so a judge will decide if Carol Coronado spends the rest of her life in prison or if she is sent to a mental hospital.
Rudy Coronado said he visits his wife in jail and while he hasn’t said the words “I forgive you,” he tells her he believes she was ill.
“She's on meds and she’s not all there, so she rambles a lot. I sit and listen. I don’t blame her for things. There’s no use for that.”