Editorial, Wall Street Journal, January 2, 1998

Mom the Murdered

Even in a time when the capacity for outrage is constantly challenged by new adventures in psychosis, nothing quite so stretches the ever-expanding boundaries of disbelief than the case of Latrena Denise Pixley.

The facts are indisputable. One morning in June of 1992, Ms. Pixley of Washington D.C., became annoyed with her wailing child, six-week-old Nakya Dannyel Scott, and tossed her in the trash after smothering her with a blanket. She spent the rest of the day cooking and going out late for some barbecue with her then boyfriend. He learned of the murder the next morning and called the police.

The deed, unsurprisingly, did not land her in jail for the rest of her life or even a good chunk of it since Ms. Pixley has been marvelously fortunate in meeting another bleeding heart at every juncture of her odyssey in and out of the courts and the local child welfare agency.

Pleading guilty to second-degree murder, Ms. Pixley faced a sentence of 15 years to life, but she also faced D.C. Superior Court Judge George W. Mitchell, who let her go with a visit to a halfway house. The father of the murdered toddler became so distraught at seeing Ms. Pixley go unpunished, he finally hanged himself. Ms. Pixley meanwhile birthed another baby, Cornelious, whom she couldn't raise or kill because she was finally doing a little time for the bigger crime of credit card fraud and several parole violations.

All this did not deter Montgomery Court Judge Michael Mason from now returning Cornelious to Ms. Pixley--out of jail again--and ignoring the pleas of the foster mother who wished to adopt him. In a masterpiece of judicial idiocy, the judge cited overarching bonds of "family preservation" and racial uniformity and returned the boy to the mother who had killed his sister. (The boy and the foster mother are of different races. It is curious how the liberal mantra of racial diversity applies so infrequently to custody cases.) We note with relief that Ms. Pixley's other two children do not live with her.

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