A two-day court trial has been scheduled for Victoria Sparrow, the Stevensville woman accused of killing her 3-year-old daughter. Queen Anne’s County Circuit Judge Thomas G. Ross scheduled Sparrow’s trial for Monday and Tuesday, July 20-21. At a hearing in circuit court, defense attorney Peter O’Neill said Sparrow intends to waive her right to a jury trial and have her case tried by the judge. O’Neill said the defense and the state will work on a stipulation in which both sides agree on the facts of the case.
Police allege Sparrow killed her daughter, Laci, last December by mixing medicines in her food. Victoria Sparrow then tried to kill herself by taking pills. She recovered and was charged in two separate charging documents with two counts of first-degree murder and one count each of second-degree murder, contaminating or poisoning food or drink, attempted poisoning, first-degree child abuse: death, second-degree child abuse: house, first- and second-degree assault, and reckless endangerment. Sparrow pleaded not criminally responsible by reason of insanity. The court ordered her to be examined by the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, and the court received a report from the DHMH that determined Sparrow is competent to stand trial and is criminally responsible. The defense acknowledges Sparrow is competent to stand trial but disputes the finding that Sparrow was criminally responsible, said O’Neill.
Sparrow was examined by medical personnel at a state psychiatric hospital, the Clifton T. Perkins Hospital. O’Neill said the defense also had a psychiatrist, Dr. David Williamson, examine Sparrow before and after her examination at Perkins. Queen Anne’s County State’s Attorney Lance Richardson said the state would no longer seek a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole for Sparrow, but the state would still seek a life sentence with the possibility of parole. Richardson said the details of the stipulation still have to be worked out, but the state and defense really do not have much in dispute on the facts of the case. He said the state would present two physicians from the Perkins hospital at the trial.