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Oconomowoc woman found not guilty by reason of insanity in child stabbing

Dana M. Hooper, accused of stabbing her infant daughter to death last September, was found to be not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect at a court hearing on Feb. 4.

Judge William J. Domina ordered the 33-year-old Oconomowoc resident to remain in institutional care for life and denied conditional release because of the potential threat Hooper could pose to herself or others.

Two court-appointed psychiatrists, Dr. Deborah Collins and Dr. John Pankiewicz, determined that Hooper suffered from a psychotic disorder. Hooper said that in the weeks leading up to the murder of her child, she was suffering from mood swings, hallucinations and frequent periods of sleeplessness, made worse by an antidepressant she was prescribed. She told medical personnel before her arrest that she suffered from postpartum depression.

"Somehow, this act was motivated by 'God' or 'The Devil' or a person with strength that could not be ignored," Domina said.

The judge said that Hooper had made clear psychological progress since the incident and was deemed competent, meaning that she will be allowed to make decisions regarding her psychiatric care.

However, that decision can be reconsidered by the court in the future.

Hooper was visibly relieved by the judge's sentence, but broke down in tears at the end of the hearing.

"I hope you find balance and understanding, so that you can help others who end up on this path," Domina said in closing. "Because, in your case, that did not happen."

According to the criminal complaint:

On Sept. 15, Hooper told medical personnel at Rogers Memorial Hospital that she was suicidal and that she killed her baby, the criminal complaint reads.

"I'm going to tell you the truth," she allegedly told the nurse. "I thought there was spiritual warfare at our house. Voices in my head, God's voice, told me to kill my baby because it was satanic."

Police arriving at Hooper's residence on Lisbon Road in Oconomowoc met with Kevin Hooper, the husband of the defendant, who has been charged with failure to report the death of a child.

Kevin Hooper, 34, allegedly told police that he had  wrapped the baby in a blanket and placed her in a laundry basket. 

"It was immediately evident that the baby was deceased," the complaint reads.

Asked why he waited several hours before contacting police, Kevin Hooper allegedly told police he was afraid and was waiting for Dana's father to arrive.

He also allegedly told police he moved the child into a plastic laundry basket because he didn't want the baby bleeding all over the carpet.

In regards to the charges filed against him, Kevin Hooper is next expected to appear in court on March 4.

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