|For Immediate Release
Case # C-64940
December 16, 2010
|Susan Kang Schroeder
Public Affairs Counsel
JURY DENIES PETITION FOR RESTORATION TO SANITY BY MOTHER WHO KILLED
43-DAY-OLD SON IN 1987
SANTA ANA – A jury denied a petition today for Restoration of Sanity by 46-year-old Sheryl Lynn Massip, who was convicted by a jury in 1988 of murdering her 43-day-old son. The conviction was subsequently set aside by the court, who determined that the defendant was not guilty by reason of insanity. Massip was committed by the court in 1989 to outpatient treatment and supervision and is now petitioning to have her sanity restored and to be released from supervision. A jury denied her petition today and Massip will therefore continue to be subject Orange County Conditional Release Program (CONREP) supervision.
After her criminal case was resolved in 1989, Massip remarried and is now Sheryl Lynn Smith.
Circumstances of the Crime
On the morning of April 29, 1987, Smith (Massip) went for a walk near her Anaheim home carrying her 43-day-old son, Michael. It was the defendant’s 23rd birthday. While walking in front of a nearby school, Smith (Massip) threw her baby into the street in front of an oncoming car. The driver of that car was able to swerve to avoid hitting the child, and Smith (Massip) retrieved the baby from the road and returned to her home.
Once inside their home, Smith (Massip) took baby Michael into the garage and bludgeoned him with a blunt object. She then drove the still-living victim to a remote residential area in Fullerton and parked her car. Smith (Massip) took Michael from the car, placed him under the front tire, got back into her vehicle, and killed her baby by driving over his head.
Smith (Massip) got out of her car and picked up the crushed, dead baby, wrapped him in a blanket, and drove him several blocks before dumping his body in a trash can. Smith (Massip) then returned home, telling her husband that their baby had been kidnapped at gunpoint by an African-American woman. Smith’s (Massip’s) husband called the police, who began an immediate search for the baby and his abductor.
Smith (Massip) and her husband were transported to the police department and interviewed about the circumstances of the kidnapping. During a moment alone, Smith’s (Massip’s) husband confronted her about inconsistencies in the stories she had told to him and the police. Massip then admitted to her husband that she had killed Michael and confessed to police.
Circumstances of the Conviction
Massip was charged with murder for the death of baby Michael. The defense presented evidence during trial that Smith (Massip) was suffering from “Postpartum Psychosis” and was therefore not guilty by reason of insanity. On Nov. 17, 1988, a jury rejected Smith’s (Massip’s) insanity defense and found her guilty of murder.