FAIRFAX, Va. (AP) — A grandmother who threw her 2-year-old granddaughter to her death from a sixth-floor walkway at Virginia's largest shopping mall told detectives in a taped confession that she felt unloved by her family and jealous of the attention her granddaughter received.
More than anything, Carmela dela Rosa told detectives, she was angry at her son-in-law James Ogdoc for taking her daughter away from her and saw killing the infant as a way to get back at him, according to the confession. The tape was played to jurors Tuesday at the woman's murder trial.
"I just saw James through her, through the baby," dela Rosa said in the hour-long videotaped confession to a Fairfax police detective. "I thought about James and I threw her."
Dela Rosa, 50, of Fairfax, Va., acknowledges that she threw her granddaughter, 2-year-old Angelyn Ogdoc, from an elevated pedestrian bridge at Tysons Corner Center last November, in the midst of the busy holiday shopping season. She has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity, and her lawyers argue that her diagnosed depression was so severe that she could not distinguish right from wrong.
In her confession, though, dela Rosa explicitly states that what she did was wrong. "I did a terrible thing," she told the detectives. She also admits that her intent at the time was to kill Angelyn and that she hatched the plan several minutes before carrying it out.
She told the detectives that her anger boiled over at her family during a visit to the mall's food court. She first became angry that her husband, son and daughter were speaking to each other in a sort of silent code that excluded her that day.
But what really set her off was a phone call between her daughter and son-in-law. She saw the phone call as an intrusion on her family time.
"Even when she's with us, James is always in the picture," dela Rosa said.
She admitted to detectives that she always disliked James Ogdoc, who was her daughter's high school sweetheart at Bishop O'Connell High School in Arlington. The anger became more pronounced when he got dela Rosa's daughter, Mary Kathlyn, pregnant out of wedlock. The couple married just before Angelyn was born in June 2008.
"He took her from me too early. He didn't give her a chance to explore," dela Rosa told the detectives.
But dela Rosa acknowledged that her anger was widespread, and even included jealousy over Angelyn stealing the family's attention from her.
"Everybody loves her," dela Rosa said of Angelyn. "I feel like (my husband) loves her more than me. I feel like there's no more love for me."
Throughout the airing of the confession, dela Rosa sat at the defense table mostly impassive, occasionally fidgeting with her hands and once appearing to wipe away tears as she described on the tape how her husband cajoled her to take her medicine. Twice in the months before she killed the toddler,, dela Rosa attempted suicide — once by taking an overdose of pills and once by driving her car off a steep road in the Shenandoah Mountains.
Earlier in the day, James Ogdoc took the stand and wept as he described watching his daughter die at the hospital, some nine hours after she was thrown from the walkway.
"They had her hooked up to machines checking her vitals, and she passed away," Ogdoc said through sobs. Several jurors wept as well during Ogdoc's testimony, one overcome to the point that she could no longer continue as a juror. The panel now has 13 members instead of 14, with one alternate remaining. The trial is expected to last about two weeks.
Ogdoc did not describe overt hostility from his mother-in-law, but said the relationship was icy and strained. He said dela Rosa warned him sternly on several occasions, including at his wedding: "Take care of my daughter."