Mother, 26, committed in drowning of daughter

From The Oregonian, March 29, 1988 – not elsewhere online

A 26-year-old Portland mother who drowned her infant daughter “so she could get to heaven” was found guilty Monday of murder except for insanity.

Multnomah County Circuit Judge Phillip J. Roth made the finding after the prosecution and the defense stipulated that Gloria Chames was unable to appreciate the criminality of her conduct when she drowned her 1-year-old daughter Aug. 12 at the family residence at 3335 S.E. 124th Ave.

Roth concluded that Chames poses a substantial threat to the safety of others and committed her to the custody of the state Psychiatric Security Review Board for the rest of her life.

Roth signed an order calling for immediate transfer of Chames to the Oregon State Hospital in Salem, where she will remain in custody pending further evaluations of her mental condition by the review board.

The board supervises the treatment and custody of criminal defendants in Oregon who are found to be guilty except for insanity.

According to police reports that the state and defense submitted to Roth as evidence, Chames told detectives that she drowned her daughter, Jamie Marie Chames, in the bathtub at the family’s apartment.

“I killed her so she could go to heaven,” Chames told detectives.

Chames told police that she tried three or four times to drown the child and that she also had tried to choke her. “I saw a little animal — she was without a soul,” she told police.

Dr. Edward Colbach, a Portland psychiatrist hired by the defense, concluded that the mother suffered from chronic paranoid schizophrenia.

Defense lawyer Forrest N. Rieke said Chames “seems to understand very well what’s happening” while she is taking medication.

Deputy District Attorney John C. Bradley said the state agreed that Chames was legally insane at the time of the homicide.

Rieke said Chames had been taking medication for several months. A temporary judge, Tom Price, had concluded Feb. 12 that Chames was mentally competent to aid and assist in her own defense.

Chames did not speak in court Monday other than to waive a jury trial.