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Jul 14, 2014

Felicia Chen gets 8 years in prison for drowning her 3 children at Belizean Beach

Felicia Chen

On Saturday, April twenty-seventh, 2013, a young mother exited a bus at the mile four checkpoint, walked her four small children into the sea at Belizean Beach and held three of them underwater until they were dead. For that terrible crime twenty-three year old Felicia Chen was this morning sentenced to eight years at the Belize Central Prison by Justice Troadio Gonzalez. Chen had originally been charged for murder but last week, with no objection from the prosecution, she pleaded guilty to three counts of the lesser charge of manslaughter. In trial, there was evidence from a leading psychiatrist that when she drowned her children, Chen was suffering from severe depression and had been the victim of physical and mental abuse.  Mike Rudon was in court this morning for the sentencing and has the story.

 

Mike Rudon, Reporting

On May third, one year old Trinaya, three year old Thomas and four year old Triana were laid to rest, their lives snuffed out by what is being called a psychotic episode caused by severe depression. And this morning, another chapter in the tragic story of twenty-three year old Felicia Chen came to a close. There will be no happy ending or indeed any happiness for the young mother, or for any of the characters in this tale of tragedy, despair, mental illness and death. Last week, as she pleaded guilty to three counts of manslaughter, Felicia Chen told the court that she was a victim of physical and mental abuse, forced to turn to prostitution to provide for her children. Her attorney, Leslie Mendez, said her client hallucinated, and heard voices which told her to kill her children. She asked for leniency, and this morning, the court answered, sentencing Chen to eight years in prison.

 

Leslie Mendez, Attorney for Felicia Chen

“The factors that played a role in the sentencing were first that the judge mentioned the fact that she pleaded guilty to the three counts of manslaughter and had saved the courts some time. The other circumstances were what I had raised and her sister had raised – that she is a victim of domestic violence, the fact that her mental state was impaired at the time as she has been diagnosed with suffering from severe depression with psychotic symptoms, so that played a role in her sentencing, but also in the defence when it comes to diminished responsibility.”

 

Even though her defence was based on diminished responsibility as a result of her mental state and acute depression, and even though it is acknowledged that Chen must have suffered a severe psychotic episode to take the lives of her three children…the Court today ordered no further psychiatric monitoring or treatment…not even counselling.

 

Leslie Mendez

“The court hasn’t mentioned it but we will definitely monitor that.”

 

Reporter

“Who will monitor that?”

 

Leslie Mendez

Leslie Mendez

“We will be ensuring that she get psychiatric treatment from a psychiatrist. She has been, but it’s just a bit delayed for three months. She’s also seeing a counsellor and she’s also getting some treatment at the prison, so we would be ensuring that that is still going on during the time that she’s serving her sentence.”

 

There has been an ongoing expression of public sentiment in the case of Felicia Chen. There has been some compassion for the young mother in light of her story of chronic abuse and diagnosed depression, despair and diminished capacity. There has also been furious condemnation at the heinous crime which took the lives of three beautiful, innocent children. A sentence was handed down today…but was justice dispensed?

 

Reporter

“Would you say that justice has been served today?”

 

Leslie Mendez

“Yes I do believe that justice has been served today. We are very grateful to the courts for showing some leniency in these types of cases.”

 

Reporter

“Do you believe that justice has been served in regards to the three children that have been killed?”

 

Leslie Mendez

“I do believe that justice has been served here. To say that it is tragic is an understatement. But it is something that she will live with forever in her mind. She will forever feel guilty, as she has expressed. We can’t go back. We can’t go back.”

 

The fourth child, then six, managed to get away and run for help. While she escaped the fate of her siblings on that terrible day in April, 2013, she is reportedly still in counselling for the trauma she suffered.  Mike Rudon for News Five.

 

In handing down his sentence, Justice Troadio Gonzalez took into account the fact that it was Chen’s first offence, as well as her show of remorse to the court and the anguish which he said she must be feeling. She was sentenced to eight years for each count of manslaughter, but because the sentences are to run concurrently she will serve only eight years.  

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5 Responses for “Felicia Chen gets 8 years in prison for drowning her 3 children at Belizean Beach”

  1. Jane says:

    she should have gotten 100 years .that is what she deserve. she is a monster .

  2. ANDREA STUART says:

    Will Ms Chen be rehabilitated in that time that she is there. No, she will not . She needs to go to a facility, that have her bound with her child after her release.
    Do we have such facility in place ? If she is continuing to stay at the prison she will be PREGNANT again.
    Ms Chen and many others needs Big Help, not like how we in Belize know to scandal her persons that we are given that task to work with. This is happening too too often.
    m
    Monies needs to be set aside, to help the less fortunate with physiological problems.
    Jail is Not The Solution , Our prison officers do not have that expertise to handle that kind of a problem just yet .

  3. Ian Anderson says:

    Jane.. based on the described circumstances of her being physically and mentally abused herself and in a state suffering from severe depression at the time.. I would have pitty on the lady knowing she has to live with this the rest of her life. The abomination of this story is that even though it is acknowledged that Chen must have suffered a severe psychotic episode to take the lives of her three children…the Court today ordered no further psychiatric monitoring or treatment…not even counseling. If you can not see the sadness and how wrong this is, then the Monster, I might suggest, is you.

  4. Stephanie Crawford says:

    It’s sad that our society label passion crimes as persons who are “crazy” a “monster” or “dangerous” . When we have no system in place to diagnose our citizens with depression, schizophrenia, sociopaths, multiple personalities, these are All real diseases, with real tragic and dangerous results. If we can recognize, diagnose and treat these people in the early stages. We could prevent tragedies like this one. Our government have no place for these people to be rehabilitated, treated and then placed back in society. Our labels, judgements, and lack of treatment is the real “monster”

  5. Common Sense says:

    Stephanie Crawford and Ian Anderson. I strongly agree with you I mean it’s not only America where these things can happen it’s any part of the planet because as human beings we are emotional and sometimes emotions act as an impediment to our self improvement and self development, I sure wish Belize could have the capabilities to help sooner rather than later to at least avoid something of this nature from ever reoccurring again.

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