Psychiatric Tests Ordered : Mother Pleads Innocent in Drownings of Children

Times Staff Writer

A Tarzana woman accused of drowning her two children in the Santa Monica surf was ordered held without bail Tuesday and told to undergo psychiatric evaluation after pleading not guilty to the drownings.

Fumiko Kimura, 32, entered the plea at her arraignment in Santa Monica Municipal Court on two murder charges and two counts of felony child endangering in the deaths of both youngsters.

'Danger to Herself'

Assistant Dist. Atty. Richard Neidorf requested that Kimura be held without bail. "She's a danger to herself right now," he said. "She might kill herself.

"She has no community ties and the rest of her family is in Japan. If I agreed to a low bail, I could be aiding and abetting in a suicide."

According to police, Kimura was despondent over marital problems and homesick for her native Japan when she walked into the ocean near the Santa Monica Pier on Jan. 29 with her two children. Two college students pulled the trio from the water, but Kimura's 4-year-old son died hours after the incident and her 6-month-old daughter died Saturday.

Under the multiple murder charges sought by the district attorney's office , Kimura could receive the death penalty if convicted.

Kimura appeared without an attorney at the 10:30 a.m. arraignment. When Municipal Judge Rex H. Hunter asked her if she understood English, she quietly replied "yes" and hung her head as the charges against her were read.

An attorney, Gerald Klausner, later appeared in court and said he had been retained over the weekend by the woman's husband, Isuroku Kimura, to represent her. But Fumiko Kimura refused the offer and instead accepted the judge's offer of a public defender, Margaret Scully.

Hearing Scheduled

A preliminary hearing was scheduled for March 21.

Kimura is being held in a one-person cell at Sybil Brand Institute, the county jail for women. She is checked at least every half an hour and must be escorted by a deputy whenever she leaves her cell, a Sheriff's Department spokesman said.

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