‘I guess it’s murder,’ mom said

A woman accused of throwing her three children into the chilly San Francisco Bay water last October appeared to call the act murder in a videotaped police interview shown on the last day of the prosecution’s case Wednesday.

For a second day, the emotionally charged interview — conducted by police homicide investigators just hours after LaShuan Harris allegedly threw her children off Pier 7 — transfixed jurors and audience members alike. Necks craned forward in the silent courtroom as people strained to hear the 24-year-old Harris’ muffled answers to inspectors’ questions.

Harris does not deny that she threw her three sons, 6-year-old Trayshawn Harris, 2-year-old Taronta Greely Jr. and 16-month-old Joshua Greely, over the railing of Pier 7 on the evening of Oct. 19, 2005.

Prosecutors argue that she knew she was taking the children’s lives when she threw them in the Bay, but her defense maintains that, due to her schizophrenia, Harris does not understand that her babies are dead.

Harris said repeatedly during a taped interview with homicide inspectors that voices in her head told her to “send her babies to Jesus” in the name of “spiritual warfare,” but on Wednesday, Harris can be heard on tape alluding to the act as murder.

“Are y’all going to kill me?” Harris asked toward the end of the interview.

“Why would you say that?” one of the inspectors answered.

“I guess it’s murder,” Harris said.

Harris’ attorney, Teresa Caffese, the chief attorney for the Public Defender’s Office, said that the tape helps prove Harris does not clearly understand that she killed her children.

“She said all along she’s been hearing voices telling her to send her babies to Jesus. Not kill them, send them,” Caffese said in an interview.

Harris never utters the word “kill” during the interview, Caffese said, indicating that she doesn’t understand that she took the children’s lives. Instead, Caffese said, Harris thinks the kids have been sent to heaven, which Harris thinks of as a geographical place, “as we would think that we were traveling to another state.”

Caffese said she expects the prosecution to rest early Thursday. She said she will begin calling witnesses that same day.

amartin@examiner.com

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