Phantom soccer starting fresh

Photo by Barry Taglieber Phoenixville's Boys Soccer players James Riggins, John McInally and Blake Tucker.

LANCASTER (AP) -- A woman who was found not guilty by reason of insanity for drowning her two-year-old son and suffocating her four-month-old son four years ago does not need court-ordered psychiatric treatment, a judge ruled Wednesday.

Prosecutors did not prove that Meghan V. Lippiatt, 32, is severely mentally ill -- a danger to herself or others, Lancaster County Judge James P. Cullen ruled. Prosecutors said they would not appeal the decision.

The Lancaster New Era reported Lippiatt smiled but declined to comment as she walked out of the courtroom.

Assistant District Attorney Kelly M. Sekula released a statement saying Lippiatt got away with murdering her sons -- Silas, 2, and Myles, four-months-old -- by manipulating symptoms of mental illness.

"It is extremely disturbing that the individual responsible for their deaths does not have any criminal or civil responsibility or consequences for their murders due to a claimed mental illness that remarkably resolved itself shortly after the trial, just in time for her to be released from custody forever," Sekula said.

Sekula said in an e-mail that a court-appointed psychiatrist determined Lippiatt's mental illness was in remission and that she did not need the involuntary mental health treatment that prosecutors sought.

Lippiatt's lawyer, Julie M. Cooper, declined to comment when reached at her office after the hearing.

The boys' bodies were found in April 2004 under a blanket in a bed inside a Mount Joy farmhouse, where they lived with Lippiatt's parents. Silas' hands had been bound behind his back.

Lippiatt called 911 to report "I just killed my kids," and an apparent suicide note written by Lippiatt read, in part: "I am sorry, goodbye. Please help me from the grave." Lippiatt required hospitalization after overdosing on over-the-counter painkillers, police said.

She and her sons had moved back to her parents' home in Mount Joy from England, where their father lives.

Sekula said the whereabouts of the children's father, Daniel Lippiatt, is not known to prosecutors and that they have never been able to contact him.

After the killings, Lippiatt received mental-health treatment at Norristown State Hospital and also was incarcerated in the county prison.

She was in custody continually after the killings until December, after Cullen issued the verdict of not guilty by reason of insanity following a bench trial. Cullen acknowledged Wednesday that there is no doubt Lippiatt killed her sons.

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