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Mom ‘not guilty’ by reason of insanity after driving kids into ocean

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A Volusia County judge has determined that a South Carolina mother was insane when she drove her three children into the ocean off Daytona Beach earlier this year.

In court Friday morning, the judge found Ebony Wilkerson not guilty of three counts of child abuse, by reason of insanity. The ruling was part of a plea deal requiring in exchange that prosecutors drop three attempted murder counts against Wilkerson.

In a hearing scheduled for next week, the judge will determine whether Wilkerson should be hospitalized for treatment or can be released with court supervision.

Wilkerson’s attorneys say the plea deal was reached after a psychologist hired by prosecutors agreed with a defense psychologist that Wilkerson had a psychotic break during the incident.

Wilkerson drove her van into the surf in March. Bystanders and officers pulled her and her children from the van.

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Nicole Darden Creston

About Nicole Darden Creston

All Things Considered Host and Reporter

Nicole came to Central Florida to attend Rollins College and started working for Orlando’s ABC News Radio affiliate shortly after graduation. She joined WMFE in 2010. As a field reporter, news anchor and radio show host in the City Beautiful, she has covered everything from local arts to national elections, from ... Read Full Bio »