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Newspaper Reports Rowland's Plea for Mental Help

Newspaper Reports Rowland's Plea for Mental Help

Posted - Mar. 30, 2004 at 10:45 a.m.



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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- The mother charged with killing one of her twins by delaying a Caesarean section wants a civil commitment to a psychiatric facility.

"I want to go where they can help me," Melissa Ann Rowland told the Deseret Morning News for a copyrighted story. "I've even offered to be sterilized if these people will let me out of this jail."

Rowland, 28, allegedly ignored multiple recommendations that she get a C-section to save the lives of her twins, one of whom was later delivered stillborn. She has denied the murder charge.

Defense attorney Michael Sikora filed a motion Friday to limit media access to Rowland. A judge has that under consideration.

Rowland on Monday described herself as severely depressed to the point of feeling suicidal and said she was not getting the mental-health care she needed in jail.

She said she could request a jail doctor who visits her to prescribe other medication, such as antidepressants, but she doesn't want to do that without a thorough psychiatric evaluation in a different, more therapeutic setting.

She said the antidepressant medication that is available to her in jail gives her energy and makes her want to be "out running around," not sitting in a cell.

"If this is their idea of forcing Melissa into a plea agreement, they're doing a damn good job of it," she said, wiping her eyes.

Rowland indicated she would even be willing to plead guilty to a crime she didn't commit if she could get out of the Salt Lake County Jail.

She said she would prefer a mental-health facility but suggested she would accept prison if necessary in order to get the kind of care she believes she needs.

"My life is a living hell in here," Rowland said. "People in prison have more freedom than this."

Rowland said she was locked in her cell in the health-services section of the jail 24 hours a day except to shower, see visitors and go to court.

"I can't handle stuff like this. I'm becoming a basket case," she said, adding she did not know if she could last until a preliminary hearing, which may not be held until June. "There's not going to be a 'me' left if I have to stay here."

Rowland's next court appearance is a scheduling conference set for Monday.

(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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