Mother’s mental illness diagnosed a decade ago

Sherri Love has a history of mental illness dating back more than a decade. The 47-year-old, on trial in District Court on charges she fatally stabbed her 7-year-old daughter, tried to kill herself multiple times and was diagnosed as bipolar, authorities said.

A few days before police say she killed her daughter on Feb. 3, 2007, Love checked herself into a hospital for alcohol treatment. She told the medical staff she was feeling manic and anxious, said her attorney, deputy district attorney Andrea Luem.

Two days after she left the hospital — against the staff’s advice — she stabbed her daughter to death and cut her then 8-year-old son with a knife, authorities said.

Love’s mother, Marjorie Bull, wants to make sure tragedies like that don’t happen again.

Bull, who has been attending her daughter’s trial, is trying to get legislation passed that would ensure that people with mental illnesses get out-patient treatment.

The law she wants passed would be called “Arabella’s Law.” It would be based on New York’s “Kendra’s Law,” created in 1999 after a man with a history of mental illness pushed a woman, Kendra Webdale, in front of an oncoming train, killing her.

Kendra’s Law allows judges to issue orders requiring people suffering from some mental illnesses to receive outpatient treatment.

“If it (Arabella’s Law) were in effect today, she (Arabella) would be here today,” Bull said this week outside the courtroom.

Love is the youngest of four children. According to a psychologist who testified in her trial Wednesday, Love was physically abused by a stepfather and began drinking alcohol at an early age.

Love first tried to kill herself in 1993. Other attempts followed.

At times, she drank upwards of a fifth of vodka a day and also was abusing prescription medications, the psychologist said.

Deputy Public Defender Edward Kane said the treatment Love received for alcoholism at the hospital in January 2007 days before the slaying exacerbated her condition.

Prosecutors disagreed, saying no one noticed any odd behavior or other problems.

Love tried to kill herself by overdosing on pills after she attacked her two children, authorities said.

Closing arguments in the trial are expected to begin today.

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