A mother who threw her two young children off the top of a bridge, killing one of them, will represent herself in her murder trial.
Ureka R Black, 34, killed her infant son Joshua and seriously injured her five-year-old child Elijah to allow them to “meet with God,” authorities said according to KTBS.
She appeared in Caddo District Court on Monday, where she asked the judge if she could represent herself on a not-guilty plea as she faces charges of second-degree murder and attempted second-degree murder.
Judge Donald Hathaway reportedly agreed to Ms Black’s request but ordered her attorney Elizabeth Gibson of the Caddo Parish District Public Defender’s Office to stay on standby to assist Ms Black with her trial.
In January 2022 she originally pleaded not guilty, but in May 2022 she changed her plea to ‘not guilty by reason of insanity.’
However, she was assessed by two court-appointed psychiatrists to decide if she was competent enough to stand trial.
The murder took place on 24 September 2021 at the Cross Lake Bridge in Louisiana. Police received a call around 11am after an individual who was working on a yard crew nearby spotted a child floating in the lake near the bridge.
An incident report from a first responder dispatched to Cross Lake obtained by KSLA outlines what the officers found when they got there.
One responder spotted 10-month-old Joshua Black floating face down in the lake not moving. He grabbed the baby and pulled him out of the water, but at that point, advanced stages of rigor mortis had set in, the report said.
He left, but he and his partner were later dispatched back to the same scene when reports of another child, Ms Black’s other son Elijah, was seen in the water, but still breathing.
He was rushed to LSU Oschner Heath Shreveport with “life-threatening injuries,” police reported.
An interviewer asked the five-year-old how he got in the water. He replied “My mother rolled me into the water” from the top of the bridge.
The interviewed tried to clarify if he meant he was thrown in but he insisted that he was “rolled.”
His mother allegedly told her son the lake was “good water” before rolling him in from the bridge. The child had no other details on what “good water” meant.
The child said to the interviewer that his mother did not roll his brother into the water and said he left in the car with his mother.
He was unsure how long he had been in the water but said it “felt like five hours.”
If found guilty on both counts, Ms Black could be facing a life sentence for the murder of her baby son and another 50 years for the attempted murder of her five-year-old.