Melodia Dunn indefinitely committed to mental health facility

By Nick Kenney - bio | email

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - The mother of two young boys who were killed when they were left alone inside their burning home has been officially committed.

Melodia Dunn has been indefinitely committed to a mental health facility.

Last October, Dunn's two young sons were left home alone and died when the house caught fire.

After Dunn was indicted, the court ordered a 30-day mental health evaluation.  Doctors at the Memphis Mental Health Facility testified that Dunn suffers from mild mental retardation and severe depression.

Doctors also said she's emotionally and psychologically fragile and incapable of discussing what happened or to sufficiently understand the case against her.

Doctors with the Memphis Mental Health Institute commented on Dunn's condition.

"I think what has gotten Ms. Dunn through so far is to avoid and deny what's going on," said Dr. Christie Brooks.  "That's what helped her cope so far."

"Now she is acknowledging the fact that her house is the house that caught fire," said Dr. Amanda Buchwald.  "Her children are dead, and they died from injuries sustained in the fire."

Defense attorneys argued that Dunn will be ready for trial sooner if she stays in treatment at Memphis Mental Health Institute.  Prosecutors argued that two other facilities always prepare defendants for trial.  The judged ultimately ruled for the defense.

"Just because that's the way we've always done it doesn't mean there's anything wrong with this procedure," said Judge Beasley.

Dunn was not in court Friday.  A large part of her family was there to show support.

Prosecutors said Dunn could be "facing the possibility of first degree murder charges."

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