Leatrice Brewer Killed Her Three Children, Could Get Portion of Estate Due to 'Son of Sam' Loophole

Leatrice Brewer could receive a portion of her dead children's estate through a loophole in a New York law referred to as the "Son of Sam" law.

In 2008 Brewer killed her three children but was not found guilty of the crime due to her documented mental illness.

"The Brewer case is a novel circumstance," Jonathan Turley, George Washington University law professor, told The Associated Press. "The facts do seem to place her outside the scope of the law, although that does not mean there could not be other barriers to her recovering from the estate of her children."

Brewer, 33, cut her daughter's throat and drowned her and two sons because she thought she was protecting them from a voodoo curse. Soon after the murders she attempted suicide, twice, but failed in both attempts. She was found not guilty because of mental disease and has been in a state psychiatric hospital since.

Nassau County Surrogate Court Judge Edward McCarty will preside over a hearing scheduled for next month to determine if Brewer is entitled to a portion of her children's estimated $350,000 estate.

The money is due from two lawsuits the children's fathers received after a settlement with a New York County after they claimed social workers failed to properly monitor Brewer and her children.

Caseworkers visited Brewer's apartment two days before the killings, but no one was home. The caseworkers did not schedule an immediate follow-up visit and were later suspended.

"As a human being, I am outraged and disgusted by this," attorney Thomas Foley, who represents the father of the two slain boys, said in a statement. "As an attorney, I have some level of understanding of why we have to go through this charade, but it is difficult to forget we are here because of the actions of a crazy person who killed her kids."

New York was the first state to enact a Son of Sam law in the 1970s following the arrest of serial killer David Berkowitz. The law aimed to stop criminals from profiting from their crimes.

However, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the law in 1991 citing a conflict with the First Amendment's guarantee of free expression. New York has revised its law several times since 1992 in an attempt to prevent those with mental disease from profiting off their crimes.