Activists oppose death penalty for Dayton mom accused of killing children

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Following an announcement by prosecutors that they’re seeking the death penalty in the case of the Dayton mother accused of killing her two children, local activists say authorities are rushing to judgement.

Thirty-year-old Claudena Helton is facing two counts of aggravated murder with firearm specifications.

Montgomery County Prosecutor Matt Heck says Helton shot and killed her 8-year-old daughter Khmorra Helton and 6-year-old daughter Kaiden Helton.

Because of the nature of the crime, Heck said prosecutors will seek the death penalty in this case.

Activists Richard Cox and Donald Dominic are calling for authorities to conduct a psychiatric evaluation of Helton, charging  she could not have been of sound mind when she allegedly shot her two children.

“They just said, she did this and there’s a potential that she should receive the death penalty. How would you know that and why would you come to that assumption in the first place without giving her a mental health evaluation,” Cox asked.

Dominic added: “This woman hasn’t been tried, nothing has gone to the grand jury. Nothing has been presented before anybody and he’s coming out and basically saying she’s guilty and he’s putting the death penalty on the table.”

Both men said say far too often, society’s most vulnerable – such as black women with mental health issues – are overlooked.

They said the system failed Helton – claiming authorities had an opportunity to intervene. They named the open child services case against her as an example.

Cox and Dominic said they have reached out to Helton’s family about offering support, but have not heard back.

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