Forty year commitment for Fitchburg woman in daughter's stabbing - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Forty year commitment for Fitchburg woman in daughter's stabbing


MADISON (WKOW) -- A Fitchburg woman received a forty year commitment in a mental health institution as the result of her repeated stabbing of her six year old daughter.

30-year old Tasha Harmon attacked her daughter last August at their apartment. Harmon said "she felt God" as she carried out the stabbing.

The girl, now seven, suffered a punctured lung and other injuries, but survived the stabbing.

"Thank God, Adrianna is such a strong girl," her grandmother, and Tasha Harmon's mother, Rita Harmon told the court Wednesday.

"(She) Has physically overcome this horror. Now, (she) has a lifetime to overcome the mental aspect."

"I love my daughter very much, and I hate what I did to her," Tasha Harmon said.

Judge Nicholas McNamara said a forensic psychiatrist diagnosed Harmon as in a psychotic state when the stabbing took place.

McNamara said the psychiatrist also wrote Harmon had a history of mental illness, and medications were becoming ineffective, and Harmon was failing to take them.

As the result of a plea agreement, Harmon was found guilty of attempted first degree intentional homicide, but in a second phase of considering criminal liability, determined to be not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect.

Assistant District Attorney Robert Kaiser declined comment on the plea deal.

McNamara called the outcome "humane, reasonable," and said in some other jurisdictions, there has been public outcry for vengeance when violence and mental illness have intertwined.

Rita Harmon testified her daughter's use of alcohol and other drugs, and choice of associates exacerbated her problems. Tasha Harmon's friend, Lisa Payne testified Harmon's mother's verbal abuse hurt Harmon, and said Harmon seemed devoted to her daughter.

Harmon's attorney, assistant state public defender Tracey Lencioni said Harmon's first opportunity to petition for conditional release from her commitment will take place in about eighteen months. 

Lencioni declined comment on whether Harmon's mental illness created any past concern about her fitness to parent. 

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