HOUSTON (AP) — Texas prosecutors will seek the death penalty against a Houston woman accused of killing a mother and abducting her newborn son earlier this year outside a clinic, authorities said Thursday.
Investigators believe Verna McClain, 31, was desperate for a baby to pass off as her own after suffering a miscarriage. She is facing a charge of capital murder for allegedly shooting Kala Golden-Schuchardt outside a pediatric clinic in suburban Houston and taking her days-old son. The baby was found safe with a relative of McClain.
Her attorneys have said they planned to review her mental state.
The Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office announced its decision to seek the death penalty during a court hearing Thursday. Kelly Blackburn, the lead prosecutor in the case, said his office would not be commenting on what led to the decision, but said prosecutors spoke with Golden-Schuchardt’s family about seeking the death penalty.
“They are on board in regards to the decision,” he said.
McClain’s attorneys did not return calls seeking comment shortly after the court hearing.
No trial date has been set. She remains jailed without bond, and Blackburn said he doesn’t believe McClain’s trial will take place this year.
The shooting happened outside the Northwoods Pediatric Center in Spring, about 25 miles north of Houston, where McClain had taken her three children for checkups. Investigators believe Golden-Schuchardt was randomly targeted.
Authorities said the 28-year-old mother was placing her son, Keegan Schuchardt, into her pickup truck when McClain, a vocational nurse, repeatedly shot her, snatched the child and sped off. Golden-Schuchardt died at a hospital. But she was first able to give a description of who had shot her and taken her son.
McClain initially told investigators she had found the baby after it had been left on her doorstep. But authorities say she later confessed.
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