A jury could hear closing arguments today in the murder trial of a Fairfax County grandmother accused of dropping her 2-year-old granddaughter off a 44-foot walkway at Tysons Corner Center last November.
Starkly different portraits of 50-year-old Carmela Dela Rosa are expected as Commonwealth’s Attorney Ray Morrogh and Deputy Public Defender Dawn Butorac give their closing arguments Wednesday in a Fairfax County courtroom.
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Morrogh has said in court Dela Rosa plotted to kill Angelyn Ogdoc to punish the girl’s father, Jason Ogdoc, who had gotten Dela Rosa’s daughter, Kathlyn Ogdoc, pregnant out of wedlock. He said she was driven by “anger, hatred and revenge.”
Butorac has countered that Dela Rosa’s mental health had deteriorated badly in the months leading up to Angelyn’s killing and Dela Rosa could not fully comprehend what she was doing on the evening of November 29, 2010.
The strongest testimony for the defense came Tuesday from clinical psychologist Michael Hendricks, who said Dela Rosa suffered from a major depressive disorder with psychotic features that clouded her thinking so much she was legally insane at the time of the crime.
Hendricks testified that the bout of depression that gripped Dela Rosa beginning in the summer of 2010 was “considerably worse” than any she had experienced before. Dela Rosa tried to commit suicide by slashing her wrists, swallowing 75 pills and sending her minivan careening over the side of Skyline Drive near Front Royal.
“I am sorry, so sorry, for all the wrong I have done,” Dela Rosa wrote in a crumpled note left at the scene of the accident. “From the bottom of my heart, I love you all.”
The week before Angelyn’s killing, some of Dela Rosa’s family traveled to Ocean City for a getaway. Dela Rosa stayed behind barely eating, going out or showering, Hendricks testified.
When the family returned, Dela Rosa seemed to be in better spirits, so they decided to go to dinner at Tysons Corner Center. At the mall, Hendricks said Dela Rosa became fixated on thinking about Kathlyn’s marriage to James and her daughter having a baby out of wedlock. As her family ate ice cream, Hendrix said Dela Rosa had “delusion-like” thoughts that her family was communicating without including her.
Hendricks said Dela Rosa saw hurting Angelyn as a way to get back at James, but she couldn’t grasp the consequences of her actions as she lifted her granddaughter over the railing on the walkway between the mall and a parking garage.
“What I find remarkable is that she said she hadn’t intended to hurt Angelyn,” Hendrix said. “That was the state of her thought at the time. She didn’t understand what she was doing.”
Morrogh is expected to call his own expert witness Wednesday to rebut Hendricks’s testimony.