ST. PAUL (AP) -- A St. Paul woman charged with killing two of her eight children was committed to a state psychiatric hospital Tuesday as mentally ill and dangerous to herself and others.
The civil commitment order by Ramsey County District Judge Michael T. DeCourcy sends Mee Xiong, 27, to the Minnesota Security Hospital in St. Peter for 60 days, said Stephen McLaughlin, an assistant county attorney.
If she is found to be mentally ill and dangerous when she returns to court after her initial treatment period, she faces an indefinite commitment, putting the criminal case against her on hold.
Because there is no statute of limitations on murder charges, she will have to enter a plea if and when she is able.
Despite objections from Xiong's attorney, the judge ruled that she should receive electro-convulsive therapy, or ECT, in addition to the antipsychotic medication that doctors said hasn't greatly improved symptoms of schizophrenia.
"She hears things, she sees things," said Dr. Jennifer Service, of the Minnesota Security Hospital at St. Peter. She was one of four doctors and psychiatrists who testified that Xiong probably would benefit from the shock therapy. The main side effect of ECT is memory loss, doctors testified, but without it her prognosis is poor.
Xiong's mental illness first was diagnosed and treated in Thailand prior to her entering this country in 1996.
Psychiatrist Hector Zeler testified that Xiong sees ghosts and hears voices telling her to harm others and herself. He said Xiong admitted to him that she killed the children because she didn't want to leave them alone, and she "wanted to be in heaven with them."
Xiong, who sat next to a Hmong interpreter, giggled and mumbled throughout the proceedings. Her husband, Vang Yang, and other relatives watched her from the back of the courtroom. Outside, Yang declined to talk about the judge's decision.
The judge also lifted a nocontact order between Yang and his wife. He hasn't been allowed to see his wife since she was taken to Regions Hospital with self-inflicted stab wounds on July 17, the day he and his six other children came home to find the couple's two youngest daughters, Lisa Mai Yang, 3, and PaHoua Yang, 15 months, stabbed 59 times each.
Family members want a shaman, a Hmong spiritual healer, to visit Xiong at St. Peter. Service, the hospital's clinical director, said the family's request for a special cleansing ceremony would be allowed provided state workers don't go on strike.
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