Trial begins for Memphis mother charged with murdering her four children
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - There was emotional testimony Tuesday in the Shanynthia Gardner trial, the mother accused of murdering her four young children.
It’s been five years since this incident sent shockwaves throughout the community and now we’re hearing the details that led up to it.
Sgt. Elvin Holmes was the responding officer to the Greens at Irene apartment complex July 1, 2016. Holmes says he’s been with the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office for roughly 30 years and was still emotional about what he saw that afternoon.
Then 29-year-old Shanynthia Gardner was accused of stabbing her four children, ranging in age from six months to four years old. Her oldest son, who was seven years old at the time, was able to escape.
“You could see the baby carriage with a baby inside. You can see another small child laying on the floor,” said Holmes.
Tuesday was the start of a bench trial, meaning there is no jury.
The case will be presented to only a judge.
At points during the trial, Shanynthia Gardner covered her eyes and appeared to weep during the medical examiner’s testimony.
The deceased children’s father, Martin Gardner, described what was a tumultuous relationship with the defendant.
He recalled constant accusations from his wife of cheating, a physical altercation, and at one point he said his wife voluntarily admitted herself into Lakeside for psychiatric care.
He also testified to an incident that occurred just a few months before the fatal incident.
“I come into my kids’ room where I put the diapers and wipes, and she had them sitting in a perfect circle,” said Martin Gardner. Her and my four kids.”
He said underneath her leg was a knife. He said his wife claimed it was for protection.
Martin Gardner said the day of the stabbing, the defendant told him she was getting ready to watch a movie with the kids. He said she seemed calm and nothing appeared to be wrong.
Shanynthia Gardner was found “mentally defective” by one medical expert in 2017.
The trial resumes Wednesday at 8 a.m.
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