Thursday, March 15, 2007

Woman pleads guilty to beheading daughter

Associated Press:

Samara Spann

A mentally troubled woman accused of drowning her 6-year-old daughter, cutting off her head and throwing the remains off a bridge has pleaded guilty to first-degree murder.

Under a plea agreement accepted Wednesday, prosecutors will recommend a 23-year prison term for Samara Laverne Spann, 32. Sentencing was set for May 18.

Spann has undergone several mental evaluations since she was charged in June 2005 with killing her daughter, Kyeimah, whose remains were never found.

Spann told investigators she was using drugs heavily at the time of the killing, officials have said.

Spann's father, Gary Spann, told The Sacramento Bee in 2005 his daughter routinely called the girl a "devil child," and she belonged to a cult that worshipped the late rapper Tupac Shakur as the reincarnation of the 16th century political philosopher Machiavelli.

She also was upset because her daughter kept getting out of bed and interrupting a telephone conversation, according to the court filings.

Spann told investigators she drowned the girl in the bathtub of their home south of Seattle on Dec. 31, 2004, or Jan. 1, 2005, after seeking advice from someone who was interested in the occult, prosecutors said in court papers.

On Jan. 2, Spann bought a chain, a padlock and an ax at a hardware store, then cut off the girl's head, wrapped the chain about the body, put the girl's remains into a plastic bin and threw it off a bridge somewhere between King County and the Oregon border, prosecutors wrote.

About a month later, Spann, her 14-year-old daughter and an infant son moved to the Sacramento, Calif., area.

Acting on a tip from California Child Protective Services, authorities in Washington began searching for Spann and her daughter in February 2005. She was arrested that June in Sacramento for investigation of child abuse after authorities said she slapped the 14-year-old. Afterward, she talked to authorities about the death of her younger daughter.

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