Judge rules against mental illness defense for mother who killed daughter, injured son

A Washington County judge determined there was not enough evidence to prove mental illness was a driving factor when a Woodbury mother killed her 5-year-old daughter and injured her 6-year-old son.

Sadiyo Ibrahim Mohamed was found guilty of second-degree murder and second-degree assault on Sept. 7 in a two-phase trial. The second phase focused on Mohamed’s mental state at the time.

Washington County Judge Douglas Meslow ruled on Wednesday that there was not enough evidence to show that Mohamed is not guilty by reason of mental illness.

The judge is set to release further findings in the next week and a sentencing date could be set at that time.

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A criminal complaint states Woodbury officers were called to Lake View Alcove at about 12:45 a.m. on multiple reports of a woman chasing a child down the street and a child screaming. Officers arrived a few minutes later and found a 6-year-old child running away from his mother, who was identified as Mohamed. Officers noted Mohamed was staring off into the distance when they first contacted her and she was saying an unknown Somali phrase repeatedly.

Officers arrested her and put her in the back seat of a squad car. The complaint states Mohamed slipped out of the handcuffs at one point but officers were able to get them back on her after a minor altercation.

Officers then heard people yelling that there was a dead child in the street. The complaint states officers found a girl, around 5 years old, lying in the street with a puddle of blood coming from her head and minor cuts and abrasions to her face. Officers found the girl’s pulse but she wasn’t responding to stimuli, questions, or touch.

Both the girl and the 6-year-old boy were taken to a hospital. The boy had a severely bruised arm and a large contusion on his forehead while the girl required emergency surgery and was in critical condition with a skull fracture, brain bleed, lacerated liver, and broken ribs, the complaint states. Officers also found a child around 1 or 2 years old in the apartment who appeared to be unharmed.

The 5-year-old girl was declared dead at the hospital, officials said.

On the sidewalk, officers found a long, skinny piece of wood next to a pool of blood.

In an interview with police, the complaint states Mohamed said she had a mental illness and had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder but was off her medications for a couple of months. She added that she’d been paranoid and hallucinating for a couple of days and believed her kids were playing games on her, and she “wasn’t sure if her kids were the devil or a demon, which made her question if she should hurt them or not.”

Several neighbors told police they heard a child screaming for several minutes and the sound of slaps or thumps, the complaint states. Another reported talking to the boy, who was shaking uncontrollably, and said his mother hit him and his sister.

A detective and social worker spoke with the boy at the hospital, the complaint states, and the boy said they didn’t know why his mom was mad but she was saying she didn’t trust his sister as she hit the girl.