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Woman charged with strangling son allegedly said she did it to get back at her mother

A New London woman who is charged in connection with the death of her 4-year-old son allegedly told police that she killed him to get revenge on her mother and that she was "excited" that she killed him by strangling him and feeding him CBD gummy bears, court records show.

Tiffany Farrauto, 33, allegedly told a New London police officer that she killed her son to "get back at her mother," who she said she blamed for her own failures, according to an unsealed arrest warrant obtained by The Day.

Farrauto appeared Tuesday in court, where she was ordered to a 60-day hold at a mental health facility. Her mother, Cindy Steenson, sat in the courtroom and wiped her tears under a protective face shield, a box of tissues in her lap, as her daughter was brought in from the York Correctional Institution and deemed not competent for trial.

Farrauto allegedly told police on March 7 that she strangled her son and fed him CBD gummy bears. The boy, identified as David Jasmin, was found dead in their home at 242 Nautilus Drive that morning with lacerations and abrasions across his chest and marks on his neck, the warrant said.

Police initially responded to a parking lot outside the home at 6:27 a.m. following reports of a woman screaming obscenities and smashing a red SUV with a baseball bat, according to police.

When officers approached Farrauto in the parking lot, she allegedly spoke in a calm voice and told officers that she was damaging the car "because she wanted to," according to the warrant.

She then told officers "you can take me away now" and said "because my son is already dead in the house."

After being arrested about 6:48 a.m., Farrauto allegedly told officers, "I did it. I [expletive] did it!" She also said, "I just killed my son" and "I'm so excited about it too. I never thought I would do that," according to the warrant.

An officer found David on a mattress on the floor inside the apartment, propped up by bedding at the foot of the mattress. Gummy bear candies were scattered across his chest, the bedding and the floor, the warrant said.

An officer performed CPR on the boy, who was taken to Lawrence + Memorial Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

The warrant also stated that officers received a sworn statement from a neighbor who lives below the apartment Farrauto rented who said that at about 4:30 a.m. on March 7 they heard a child screaming and crying and heard noises that sounded like something being thrown around.

At the time of her arrest, Farrauto allegedly told officers, "You can do whatever you want in heaven, it doesn't matter how much you sinned," and recited passages from the Bible. She also told an officer that she had been the victim of sexual assault and had written about it in her journal, the warrant said.

Investigators noted possible injuries on Farrauto's left hand, including torn skin and discoloration.

Farrauto, who was a single mother, according to her family, was arraigned on March 8 and was charged with murder. She appeared in court in person on Tuesday in shackles and a yellow jumpsuit. Judge Hillary B. Strackbein ordered her committed to a 60-day hold at Whiting Forensic Hospital in Middletown and found that she was not competent to stand trial.

Farrauto's court-appointed attorney, Aimee Mahon, recommended to the judge that Farrauto receive mental health care and be deemed unfit for trial. The court heard testimony from Jo-Ann Holmes, a licensed clinical social worker from the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services Office of Forensic Evaluations in Norwich.

Holmes said she evaluated Farrauto on March 12 along with a psychiatrist and a psychologist, interviewing her for more than two hours and reviewing records associated with her case and her health.

Holmes and her team formed a unanimous opinion that Farrauto would be unable to understand court proceedings against her, would not be able to assist in her own defense and was not competent to stand trial.

Holmes said that Farrauto had "residual psychiatric symptoms" including a disorganized thought process and high levels of emotionality that would impact her ability to learn and retain new information and that she was highly suggestible.

Holmes recommended that Farrauto be committed to Whiting and said that she was confident that Farrauto could be restored to competency after receiving treatment.

The Connecticut Department of Children and Families said Farrauto had recently asked for help and reported that she thought someone had hurt her son. They had previously assisted the family for issues related to substance abuse.

At a candlelight vigil held for her grandson on March 8, Farrauto's mother said that she had no knowledge of her daughter being diagnosed with any mental illnesses.

She said her daughter had struggled with some traumatic events in the past few years and was prone to mood swings and intense emotions but had never been violent. In the days before the murder, Steenson said, "something was going on" with her daughter that she wished she had taken more seriously.

After Tuesday's hearing, Steenson said she was still no closer to understanding what had happened to her grandson.

The court appearance was the first time Steenson had seen her daughter since her grandson's death. She said the family had just recently laid him to rest.

Farrauto never faced the courtroom gallery, and Steenson said she felt that she barely got to see her daughter but was comforted "just to know that she's actually still here."

Steenson said she was glad her daughter was going to a hospital, where she hopes she will get the individualized help she thinks she needs.

Farrauto's next court date is scheduled for May 20.

t.hartz@theday.com

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