Therapist Tries to Justify Nicole Finn’s Alleged Abuse

DES MOINES, Iowa  --  Nicole Finn says she is not guilty in the death of her daughter Natalie, but jurors won't hear it from her.

On Monday, the defense announced the West Des Moines mother will not take the stand. Finn is accused of starving her daughter to death and abusing two other children, but the defense says Finn's mental health played a role in the charges.

Dr. Carlo Giacomino diagnosed Finn with PTSD and severe depression, which he believes are two factors in the death of the teen. Dr. Giacomino said Finn's diagnoses stem from domestic abuse. He also testified that her disabilities did not allow her to recognize how thin Natalie was and the filthy conditions in which the family lived. He said Finn's depression caused her to deny help from DHS, police, and the same educators who testified against her.

But prosecutor Nan Horvat does not agree, noting Finn's in-home pet rescue and her ability to give those animal basic needs. The state asked how Nicole’s disorders affected her ability to provide food and assistance for the pets, but not her children.

“And then when the children in the room down the hall asked if they could go to the bathroom, she didn’t recognize it?" Horvat asked.

“She asked that they ask her before going because of the concerns that they were misbehaving in the house,” Giacomino said.

As of now, Dr. Giacomino is the defense attorney's only witness.

Court will resume on Tuesday.