NJ woman who threw child in front of train ‘not guilty’ under insanity defense
MOUNT HOLLY — A Burlington County woman who threw a 5-year-old girl in front of an approaching train in what she described as an attempted sacrifice has been found not guilty of attempted murder by reason of insanity.
A judge made the ruling Wednesday after reviewing reports from two doctors who examined 20-year-old Autumn Matacchiera. The Hainesport woman will be committed to a psychiatric facility.
Authorities say the woman grabbed the girl at random in January and threw her on the tracks at a light-rail platform in Burlington City. Police jumped onto the tracks to signal the train to stop. The girl was rescued by her mother's boyfriend but suffered a cut and some bruising.
Matacchiera said she believed she needed to make a sacrifice to win the love of an estranged relative.
Under state law, a person found not guilty by reason of insanity can be released with or without supervision, depending on a psychiatric evaluation. If an evaluation finds the person to be a danger to themselves or others, a judge may order the person to remain in a psychiatric facility for at least as long as if they had been sentenced to prison if they had been found guilty.
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