Tenn. Mom Charged in Fatal Stabbing of 4 Kids Is Taken to Mental-Health Institution

Top: Shanynthia Gardner. Bottom: Shanynthia Gardner’s children, the four youngest of whom she is charged with killing by slashing their throats.
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A Tennessee mother who is facing charges of fatally stabbing four of her five children was taken to a mental-health institution after making a court appearance Tuesday, the Associated Press reports.

Shanynthia Gardner, 29, allegedly cut the throats of four of her children—three girls and one boy, all under the age of 5—Friday. Her 7-year-old son was able to escape the attack.


Gardner was taken to the Memphis Mental Health Institute after appearing before a judge in a video hearing Tuesday, AP notes. According to the newswire, the state psychiatric hospital serves patients who have "a severe and persistent mental illness and are hospitalized on an emergency, involuntary basis." It was not clear what treatment Gardner was receiving, Shelby County Sheriff's Office spokesman Earle Farrell told AP.

Gardner faces charges of first-degree murder, child abuse and child neglect. According to the report, she did not answer questions during the court hearing. Judge L. Lambert Ryan waived Gardner's arraignment and scheduled another hearing for July 11.

Attorney Craig Morton, who is representing Gardner, declined to comment on the case, saying that it was "too early on." Both Morton and prosecutor Jennifer Nichols reportedly plan to file a motion seeking to preserve evidence in the case, including evidence from social media, AP notes.

It is still not clear why Gardner allegedly killed her children, although investigators are looking into whether she had mental-health problems. According to AP, court documents indicate that Gardner acknowledged killing 4-year-old Tallen Gardner, 3-year-old Sya Gardner, 2 year-old Sahvi Gardner and 6-month-old Yahzi Gardner in a phone conversation with their father, Martin Gardner.


Dallen Clayton, Shanynthia Gardner's son from a previous relationship, managed to escape the apartment and tell a bystander that his mother was stabbing his sister, according to the report.

"It's devastating," prosecutor Nichols, who declined to go into details about the case, added. "It's important not just to our office but to the whole community."


Read more at the Associated Press. 

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