An Ohio woman accused of fatally stabbing and decapitating her 3-month-old daughter rejected a plea deal on Monday as she pursues an insanity defense, her attorney confirms to PEOPLE.
Deasia Watkins, 21, is charged with aggravated murder after she allegedly fractured her 3-year-old daughter’s arm, stabbed her repeatedly and severed her head from her body in March 2015, Hamilton County Coroner Lakshmi Sammarco said at a 2015 press conference.
Watkins’ lawyer, Norman Aubin, says the defense has evidence to support a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity.
“It’s the best defense for her,” he says.
According to Aubin, had she accepted the plea deal, Watkins would have been given a sentence of 15 years to life in prison, minus the approximately 19 months she has already served.
WCPO-TV reports that if the court finds Watkins not guilty by reason of insanity, she’d be under the court’s jurisdiction for life without parole.
Aubin says his client has been in a state mental hospital since her arrest last March.
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Court documents obtained by NBC said Watkins had been diagnosed with postpartum psychosis and the child’s father said she had been “speaking of demons.”
The baby was placed in the custody of Watkin’s aunt, the outlet reports. Prosecutors allege Watkins killed the baby at her aunt’s home while her aunt was sleeping even though Watkins was not supposed to be living in the home, according to NBC.
“It was pretty horrific,” Sammarco said. “These are images that will be indelibly marked in my memory.”