A Catonsville woman who was found not criminally responsible for suffocating her two sons in 1989 may soon be allowed to take short trips away from the state hospital for the criminally insane.
Anna Maria Rescott has made enough progress in her battle with her manic-depressive illness that she should be able to leave the Clifton T. Perkins Hospital Center in Jessup occasionally, according to her doctors there.
"She has made remarkable progress," said her attorney, M. Cristina Gutierrez. "Her mental disease falls, luckily for her, in a category that is very treatable by medication."
Rescott killed her two sons, Brandon, 7, and Corey, 1, in an Allegany County motel in October 1988, according to testimony presented at her trial in March 1989. A motel maid found the two boys dead, their mouths sealed with duct tape.
Dr. Christiane Tellefsen, a Perkins staff psychiatrist, testified that Rescott suffered from a severe "bi-polar disorder," commonly known as manic-depression. Rescott had harbored "intrusive" thoughts of suicide and killing her children for six months before the murders, Tellefsen testified.
Judge Gary G. Leasure found Rescott not criminally responsible for the murders and placed her in the custody of the state Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, which runs Perkins.
Perkins officials recently informed attorneys involved in the case that Rescott was making progress and would be made eligible for temporary release, perhaps including unsupervised releases, according to Gutierrez.
Gutierrez said she expects the hospital will release Rescott permanently -- but with a series of restrictive conditions -- within the next year.
"This is a woman who will have to be followed for the rest of her life," Gutierrez said. "This will be a gradual thing."
Perkins officials are expected to go to court next month to ask for the conditional release of another patient, Henry Howard, who killed four elderly family members in 1982. Baltimore prosecutors are expected to oppose Howard's release.
Defendants found not criminally responsible for their actions are generally sent to Perkins until they are no longer a danger to themselves or to others.