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Mom planned to throw son off Yaquina Bay Bridge, hoped to be found guilty but insane, DA says
By Everton Bailey Jr. | The Oregonian/OregonLive
Published on Tuesday February 23, 2016    4:44 PM     
 
A woman sentenced to life in prison for throwing her 6-year-old son from the Yaquina Bay Bridge in November 2014 planned the act for weeks, researched insanity defenses online and hoped to be committed to the Oregon State Hospital, the Lincoln County District Attorney announced Tuesday.

Journal entries and cellphone and online records showed Jillian McCabe deliberately and methodically planned what she would do before and after killing her only son, London McCabe, said District Attorney Michelle Branam during a news conference with McCabe's husband, Matt, and parents.

Jillian McCabe appeared to fake a mental illness several times and claim she was hearing voices to justify throwing the boy, who had autism, from the center of the bridge in Newport, the prosecutor said.

She hid her intentions from her husband and his parents, whom she lived with for about two months before killing the boy, Branam said. McCabe had been voluntarily committed to a treatment facility in the past but appeared to have no diagnosed mental illness and wouldn't allow her husband access to her mental health records.

McCabe, a stay-at-home mother, was scared that her lifestyle would change after her husband was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and could no longer work, Branam said. She concocted the plan to rid herself of responsibility of the boy and live at the hospital.

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On Nov. 3, 2014, McCabe drove her son for ice cream, parked at the bridge, walked with him hand-in-hand to the middle, hesitated after lifting him up once, left him there and walked away, but then returned and pushed him over the edge, Branam said. She then went back to her car and called 911.

Searchers found the boy's body hours later in the water near docks about a mile from the bridge. He didn't die in the fall but suffered several broken bones and then drowned.

McCabe pleaded guilty to murder Monday in Lincoln County Circuit Court and was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole after 25 years.

The mother has shown no remorse for the death of her son, Branam said. She appeared happy in jail, didn't mention her son's name for months and gleefully discussed the books she'd read while behind bars.

Internet search history from October 2014 included inquiries by McCabe on the chances of surviving a fall into water from 133 feet -- the height of the Yaquina Bay Bridge -- as well as searches on an insanity defense and news stories on parents who have thrown their children from bridges, Branam said.

McCabe thought she had a lot in common with Andrea Yates, a Texas woman found not guilty by reason of insanity in 2006 after drowning her four children in her bathtub.

Reitha McCabe, Matt's mother, said the family thought Jillian McCabe's sentence was "fair and merciful," but "no amount of punishment can make up for the value of London's life."

Matt McCabe said the loss of his son has left a large void in his life. He said the sentencing of his now-ex-wife brings him no closure.

"I will miss my son forever," he said.

This post will be updated.

-- Everton Bailey Jr.

ebailey@oregonian.com 503-221-8343; @EvertonBailey