The nurse charged with murder for allegedly throwing her Mercedes-Benz into traffic this month in Windsor Hills was in the grip of a ‘frightening’ mental health crisis in the days, hours and minutes leading up to the accident, according to new court cases filed by his lawyers. .
The revelations came in a comprehensive filing from Nicole Linton’s defense attorneys which offers the most detailed account yet of the events leading up to the horrific crash that killed five people and an unborn child.
The motion and attachments, obtained by The Times, detail the nurse’s four-year struggle with bipolar disorder and include a decision by doctors immediately after the fatal incident that Linton suffered an ‘apparent loss of consciousness’ at the time of the accident. .
Linton is accused of speeding her sedan down La Brea Avenue toward the busy Slauson Avenue intersection shortly after 1:30 p.m. on August 4. Authorities say she was going about 90 mph when she drove through a red light for nine seconds and slammed into traffic.
The fire accident killed five people, including one pregnant woman and a baby. The Los Angeles District Attorney charged Linton with six counts of murder, including the pregnant woman’s unborn child.
Linton has been held in jail since the crash, with prosecutors alleging she poses a flight risk and a danger to the community. They said in a file that Linton suffered from worsening mental health issues before the accident.
“She has no recollection of the events leading up to her collision,” Dr. William Winter wrote on Aug. 6. Winter treated Linton at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center.
“The next thing she remembered was laying down on the sidewalk and seeing her car was on fire,” he wrote.
Winter wrote that Linton suffered from bipolar disorder and was suffering from “apparent loss of consciousness” at the time of the crash, according to heavily redacted medical records.
Linton’s family became aware of his mental health issues in May 2018 when she was a nursing student at the University of Texas at Houston, wrote his lawyers. Her sister Camille Linton said in a letter to the court that Nicole’s studies to become a nurse anesthetist caused her first mental health crisis.
“The stress was too much for her and it ‘broke’ her,” wrote Camille Linton. “So begins the journey of Nicole’s 4-year struggle with mental illness.”
She ran away from her apartment in May 2018 during a panic attack, and when the police approached her, she jumped on a police car and was arrested for disorderly driving, wrote her lawyers.
Linton called his family from the police station and was concerned about the welfare of his pet turtle, according to his lawyers.
A few days after this arrest, Linton told her family that she believed she was possessed by her deceased grandmother.
The next day at Ben Taub Psychiatric Hospital, Linton needed stitches to her forehead after banging her head against a glass partition as she ranted at the police and the Supreme Court, the authorities wrote. lawyers. She sang Bob Marley while medical staff tended to her injury, records show.
It was Ben Taub who was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and prescribed psychiatric medication, the defense motion states.
More than a year later, Linton was involuntarily committed to a psychiatric ward after a neighbor called her family after seeing Linton running around her apartment complex naked, the attorneys said.
Linton’s mental health deteriorated further after he stopped taking his psychiatric medication during the pandemic. Her lawyers said an online therapist told her she was simply suffering from anxiety.
Linton began acting strangely, not sleeping and becoming obsessed with cleaning. She denounced her family members and accused them of robbing her, her lawyers said.
“In the days and hours leading up to the events of August 4, Nicole’s behavior became increasingly chilling,” her attorneys wrote.
Linton was in contact with his sister Camille and kept telling her that her colleagues at West Los Angeles Medical Center were “acting weird,” her lawyers said.
On the day of the accident, Linton drove home from the hospital for lunch and FaceTimed his completely naked sister, according to court documents.
She then returned to work and called her sister back at 1:24 p.m. to tell her that she was leaving work again, a few minutes before the accident.
“She told her sister she was flying out to meet her in Houston the next day so she could do her niece’s hair. She also said she was getting married and her sister should meet her at the altar. “wrote the lawyers.
Although the extent of Linton’s injuries from the accident were not included in the report, Winter mentioned “fractures” and Linton’s attorneys said the traveling nurse uses a wheelchair to move around the prison.
“The medical records are an objective and unbiased account of what happened here,” Linton’s attorney, Jacqueline Sparagna, told The Times.
But Linton’s attorneys have argued that Linton’s mental health issues and “seemingly bizarre” actions are no reason to keep her locked up and that Linton should be released for testing at UCLA Resnick Neuropsychiatric Hospital. They said she would wear an ankle monitor or submit to any other conditions imposed by the court.
“Ms. Linton would be more appropriately housed in a mental health treatment center where she can be monitored and treated for her illness,” attorneys Halim Dhanidina and Jacqueline Sparagna wrote in the filing on Monday.
Otherwise, Linton should be freed on a maximum bond of $300,000, the lawyers said, adding that was all Linton could afford.
“The safety and well-being of the people of Los Angeles is our primary concern,” Dist said. Atti. George Gascón in a statement to The Times. “Under my policy, preventive detention may be requested as part of a case-specific analysis to protect public safety and reasonably secure the accused’s return to court.”
Linton is charged by the district attorney with reckless disregard for life in connection with the multi-vehicle crash. She faces five counts of manslaughter in addition to six counts of murder.
“In an instant, Ms. Linton’s conduct claimed the lives of six people and injured many others,” Gascón said. said at a press conference days after the accident.
The the accident killed 23 years old Asherey Ryan; she almost 1 year old child, Alonzo Quintero; her boyfriend, Reynold Lester; and their unborn child. Ryan was 8.5 months pregnant when she was killed. Friends Nathesia Lewis, 43, and Lynette Noble, 38, were also killed.
“I’ve already cried. I cried. I haven’t slept at all. I screamed,” said Sha’seana Kerr, Ryan’s sister, the day after the crash. “We have to bury four people.”
Linton’s attorneys noted that blood tests showed their client had no narcotics or alcohol in her system, except for the fentanyl she was given after the accident.
They also countered prosecutors’ arguments that Linton has a history of dangerous driving.
“An extensive search of fifty states of insurance records reveals that Ms. Linton has no such background,” Linton’s attorneys wrote. “In fact, Ms Linton has been found responsible for just three previous collisions, the most recent of which occurred in 2014.”
They got backup in the letter from a family friend of Linton, a former federal prosecutor in Washington D.C.
Prosecutors said in their file that Linton’s history of mental illness included “jumping over police cars to jumping out of apartment windows”. But defense lawyers responded that the prosecutor’s office had unfairly pluralized “one-time events”.
And the apartment window Linton jumped out of during a “manic episode” was on the first floor, according to Linton’s sister, who filed a statement with the bail defense argument.
The defense included in its documents character letters from Linton’s family and friends,
Beverly Harrison, Linton’s mother, said her daughter came to America from Jamaica when she was 10 and grew up without her father. For the past two years, her daughter has spent her birthdays in Jamaica at her mother’s secluded home in the highlands of Jamaica and cared for her.
“He is a godly person who trusts him,” Harrison wrote in court. “She is a person who, if she says or does something she regrets, will come back to say she is sorry and ask for your forgiveness. My sweet baby, I love her but God loves her better.
One of Linton’s five other siblings, Kimberly, said her sister became a traveling nurse during the pandemic and wanted to start medical school next year to become a doctor.
“Nicole wants to save lives and she always has both empathy and sympathy for any life that is lost and for the family, no matter how many times you may see this stuff in this area,” said writes Kimberly Linton.
Her brother, Donovan Dallas, who is the deputy superintendent of police at Saint Andrew North in Jamaica, believes his sister did not intentionally cause the crash. He asked that she be placed in the care of his family.