Kathryn Ann Adams, a Columbus woman who thought she was being chased by demons on the night she crashed a stolen car and killed a 7-year-old Phenix City boy in 2015, was in Superior Court for a Tuesday hearing to consider a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity.
After hearing more than two hours of testimony from two forensic psychologists, Chief Judge Gil McBride said he will consider state laws and Supreme Court cases within 30 days before returning a decision. Adams was indicted on two counts of homicide by vehicle, two counts of leaving the scene of an accident and theft by taking a motor vehicle in connection with the Dec. 19, 2015 death of 7-year-old Ayden Kitchens.
“There is a fair amount of ground we need to cover,” McBride told Assistant District Attorney Christopher Williams and Adams’ defense attorney Susan Henderson.
Both forensic psychologists have relocated from practices in Columbus and at West Central Georgia Regional Hospital but testified in court via telephone after a Skype connection failed. Neither attorney objected to testimonies from Dr. Philip Kaplan of Antigua and Dr. Ashley Chason of New York City.
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In their opinions, both doctors said Adams didn’t know what she was doing that night and they don’t believe she exaggerated her condition during separate interviews with the doctors.
If Adams, 57, is found not guilty by reason of insanity, Henderson said she would voluntarily commit herself for treatment at West Central with a case plan. “We are not talking about a brief stay,” Henderson said after the hearing. “It’s going to be an extended period of time.”
A paramedic, who found Adams naked and walking on Veterans Parkway, attempted to help Adams find her apartment when she took off in his 2011 Hyundai Genesis while he was inside an apartment she noted. The stolen car traveling southbound collided with a northbound pickup, a Chevy Corsica with Ayden and 2013 Honda CR-V. The boy died at 9:07 p.m. at Midtown Medical Center.
Although police said Adams was under the influence of prescription drugs and alcohol based on her behavior, a Georgia Bureau of Investigation report found she tested negative for drugs and alcohol, Chason said. Adams was interviewed by Chason on July 12 and Sept. 8, 2016.
She also said Adams couldn’t decide what was right or wrong on the night of the crashes. “There is no way she could have planned the chain of events,” Chason said.
Chason said Adams has a history of mental illness with thoughts that she was chosen by God and was a prayer warrior. She once climbed a tree to hide for 12 hours.
Kaplan said he interviewed Adams on Feb. 4 and March 10, 2016, earlier than Chason. Kaplan described Adams as disorganized and hearing voices or demons.
“She had conversations with God,” he said. “She could not function.”
Kaplan said he believes Adams’ first episode of mental illness started when she was away from home in college. “That was my hypothesis,” he said.
He also confirmed Adams was not under the influence of drugs, according to the reports.
Kaplan said he agreed Adams wasn’t capable of knowing what she was doing that night. “I don’t think she was attempting any crime,” he said.
Ayden’s parents were at the hearing on one side of the courtroom while Adams’ family was on the other. Adams is divorced but has three grown children. She was about to move to Macon, Ga., before the crashes with the car, Henderson said.