TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA.com) - Julie Schenecker was "legally insane" when she killed her two children, a defense witness testified Monday.

Psychiatrist Doctor Scott Maher told the jury his conclusion is that Schenecker was not aware of the wrongfulness and the horror of the crime.

Julie Schenecker is on trial in Tampa for the murders of her two children, 16-year-old Calyx and 13-year-old Beau, in January 2011.

"She did not know it was wrong, she believed she was protecting her children, she thought she was bringing them to Heaven," Dr. Maher said. Schenecker was seen wiping away tears as she listened to this testimony. 

Maher said her mental illness became worse toward the end of 2010. She was briefly admitted to a facility for alcohol abuse, but Maher said that didn't help with her psychiatric treatment.

"She was severely disabled, dysfunctional, she needed to be in a psychiatric hospital in my opinion," he stated. "She was becoming more psychotic... Her thought disorder, common sense, social support system, all of the important things that helped her cope with illness were deteriorating." 

Photo Credit WFLA.com

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