A Wellington mom accused of stabbing her 10-year-old son to death in December is headed to Larned State Hospital for a second mental evaluation – this one to determine whether she had a mental defect rendering her incapable of premeditation.
Lindsey Nicole Blansett, who is charged with the first-degree premeditated murder and aggravated assault of Caleb Blansett, will spend 30 to 45 days undergoing the psychological testing in preparation for a jury trial, Sumner County County Attorney Kerwin Spencer said Tuesday. The evaluation is different from the competency exam she completed this past spring to determine whether she was fit to stand trial on the charges and assist in her defense.
Spencer said he asked for the testing after Blansett and her attorney, Mike Brown, filed a notice with the court announcing their plan to assert that the 34-year-old divorced mother of two had a mental disease or defect as a possible defense in the case.
Blansett, who told a 911 dispatcher she stabbed Caleb repeatedly in the chest on Dec. 14 because she “thought someone was coming in to get us,” was in a Wellington courtroom Tuesday afternoon for a hearing to determine a series of issues, including what evidence jurors could hear when she goes on trial Oct. 20. Spencer said a judge ruled that jurors would be allowed to listen to a recording of the 911 call as well as statements she made to detectives investigating the crime.
The judge on Tuesday also denied Blansett’s request to move her trial to a different county. Spencer said because the 911 tape will be played at trial, there’s no worry its public release last winter and subsequent publication by news media organizations will taint the pool of potential jurors.
Spencer said it’s likely 300 Sumner County residents will be asked to fill out juror questionnaires because her attorney has asked for a larger juror pool than usual to be called. Typically, 70 to 80 potential jurors are summoned for serious felony cases in Sumner County.
The last premeditated murder case tried there was in 1985, he said. Spencer said he expects Blansett’s trial to last at least a week.
Her attorney could not be reached for comment Tuesday.
Blansett was arrested by Wellington police after she made the 911 call on Dec. 14. In it, she tried to explain the knife attack on her son by saying, “I thought I was saving him from the pain that was coming.”
She also told the dispatcher between sobs: “I’m never going to get out of jail. Never.”
Caleb was killed in his bed, apparently while he had been sleeping, according to a police affidavit.
If convicted of first-degree premeditated murder, Blansett faces a sentence of life in prison. She would have to serve 50 years before she would be eligible for parole.