Mom charged with stabbing 2-year-old

April 3, 2009 8:12:41 AM PDT
A woman who believes she was being stalked by a cult has been charged with stabbing her 2-year-old daughter 100 times with scissors, her lawyer and police have said, and can be heard yelling "Die! Die!" on a 911 call. Susan Johnson's screams can be heard on the 911 call made by a security guard who helped to subdue her in a laundry room at a Gardner apartment building Wednesday night.

Johnson, 38, also used an electrical cord from a dryer to try and strangle the toddler, police said, but the security guard and two residents separated mother and child just before police arrived.

"I heard a woman screaming very loudly that she was going to 'Kill, kill, I have to kill you, Die, die, die,"' said resident Real Belliveau, 65, who lives just down the hall from the laundry room. He was watching a Boston Celtics game on TV when he heard the commotion.

When he ran to the laundry room he thought the child was already dead because she was limp, covered in blood and had the cord wrapped around her neck.

The girl was taken to a hospital suffering from as many as 100 wounds to her head, neck and torso, but many of them were superficial, police Chief Neil Erickson said. The child, who is now in the custody of state child welfare authorities, was taken to a hospital and is expected to survive.

The state Department of Children and Families made a check on the girl at her home in Turners Falls, about 35 miles west of Gardner, the day before the attack, the Worcester Telegram & Gazette and WBZ-TV reported. Department spokeswoman Alison Goodwin refused to confirm the report Thursday and said only the department is now investigating.

It's unclear what she was doing in the apartment building. She has family in Gardner, defense attorney Peter Binder said.

Johnson has a history of depression and had not been taking her medication, Binder said, adding she does not remember the attack in the laundry room.

"She seems to be very paranoid," he said.

Johnson was held without bail on a number of charges including attempted murder and ordered to undergo a competency evaluation at her arraignment Thursday in Gardner District Court. A dangerousness hearing was scheduled for April 17.

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