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Cops cleared in standoff that killed murdering mom
by Laurel J. Sweet
Friday, June 20, 2003

Three Boston cops - one a detective whose beat was to track down stolen cars - were cleared yesterday of any wrongdoing in the fatal shooting of a Dorchester mom who slit the throats of her own children on a deadly hot afternoon last summer.

``The murder of two children so young and innocent . . . at the hand of their mother is an unspeakable crime,'' said Suffolk District Attorney Daniel Conley, who exonerated detective Charles Daly and patrolmen Daran Edwards and Thomas Sullivan.

The three officers found the dead bodies of 6-year-old Sydney Murphy and her brother, Scott, 3, piled on top of each other in their family's dimly lit, maze-like basement on Milton Avenue July 2. They shot LaVeta Jackson, 36, 13 times as the 5-foot, 9-inch, 240-pound woman lunged at them from behind a latched door screaming ``unintelligibly'' and thrashing a bloodied foot-long kitchen knife over her head.

A second knife Jackson had apparently pulled from an upstairs butcher block was found next to her slaughtered children.

The officers ``witnessed a grisly scene,'' Conley said. ``Their use of force was lawful in order to protect themselves and their fellow officers.'' None of the officers emptied their semiautomatic Glock's 14-shot clips, he said.

Calls to family members of Jackson, who had a history of mental illness, were not returned yesterday.

A prepared statement released by Boston police said, ``The officers were faced with an immediate, unprovoked and deadly attack, were without means of escape or cover from that attack and used the amount of force necessary to protect themselves.''