A mother who took the lives of her two baby girls three years apart has been released from prison.
Paula Sims from southern Illinois has served more than 30 years behind bars after she murdered her two daughters.
On Thursday, the Illinois Prisoner Review Board voted 12-1 to grant release to the mother after over three hours of testimony and discussion.
Speaking to Belleville News-Democrat, her attorney Jed Stone said: “This was a great victory for women, a great relief for me and a great gift to Paula.”
“It is a recognition that postpartum psychosis is real and the women who suffer from that mental illness need to be treated and understood and not brushed aside with having the ‘baby blues,’” Stone continued.
On Friday, Sims walked out of the Logan Correctional Center where she had been incarcerated for 32 years for taking the life of her 2-week-old daughter in 1986 and another 6-week-old baby girl in 1989.
Her friend Deb Helregel greeted her outside the prison gates and said she was present when Sims found out that she would be released.
In an interview with Fox 2 Now, Helregel said: “She was very grateful. She said that several times. She is just so grateful and God is good.”
The attorney said that Sims, now 62, will live in Illinois where she has a job in Words Matter Publishing, according St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Stone argued that Sims committed the crimes as she was suffering from postpartum psychosis, a rare mental illness that causes new mothers to experience paranoia, hallucinations and delusions.
Recent changes in the state law allow depression and postpartum to be considered as mitigating factors in sentencing.
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