Ruth DiRienzo-Whitehead’s lawyer says his client does not deny killing her son, but says she is suffering from mental illness.
HORSHAM, Pennsylvania (WPVI) — The Pennsylvania mom accused of strangling her 11-year-old son as he slept must undergo a mental health evaluation, a court docket shows.
The evaluation for 50-year-old Ruth DiRienzo-Whitehead is expected to happen before her initial Montgomery County court hearing.
Her lawyer, Eugene Tinari, told Action News last week that DiRienzo-Whitehead does not deny killing her son, but says she is suffering from mental illness.
Dirienzo-Whitehead is accused of strangling her 11-year-old son, Matthew Whitehead, in their Horsham home on the night of Monday, April 10.
Her husband awoke to find his son dead and his wife missing.
Police in New Jersey found DiRienzo-Whitehead outside her family’s beach house in Wildwood Crest after her SUV was found partially submerged in the ocean in Cape May.
Documents show DiRienzo-Whitehead told police she didn’t want Matthew to grow up with her family’s financial problems, so she strangled him with her husband’s belt as he slept.
She is charged with first-degree murder.
DiRienzo-Whitehead appeared in a Cape May County court on Friday to waive her extradition hearing. She was brought back to Montgomery County the same day.
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