By Joe Tyrrell
A Bernards Township woman yesterday cried quietly yesterday as her attorney entered a not guilty plea to a charge she suffocated her 12-year old son at their home in August.
Denise Volpicelli, 45, was making her first court appearance following surgery for self-inflicted wounds and stays at a maximum-security psychiatric hospital and the Somerset County Jail.
Following a 911 call from her husband, William Kimzey, on the night of Aug. 4, authorities found Volpicelli bleeding profusely in a basement bathroom, lying a few feet from the body of her son, Jack Kimzey.
Authorities said her husband made the call after finding a note indicating Volpicelli had killed Jack and was going to kill herself. Yesterday, her attorney, Joseph Rotella, said she has received some psychiatric treatment and "is now being medicated and that has helped her realize what her actions were, and that has been devastating to her and to her family."
A stay-at-home mom, Volpicelli had been "completely devoted to her children, she also has a daughter Libby," Rotella said. "They were her entire life. I'm quite frankly considering an insanity defense or diminished capacity," Rotella said outside Judge Frank Gasiorowski's courtroom in Superior Court in Somerville. But he added he has just received 500 pages of reports in the case, "and it would be premature to say anything until I thoroughly review them."
A slim woman with light brown hair topped by a swath of gray, Volpicelli was hospitalized at Morristown Memorial Hospital, then sent to the Ann Klein Forensic Center in Trenton for psychiatric treatment.
But Volpicelli was transferred to the county jail in October, and Rotella said he is concerned because she has not been receiving the same level of psychiatric counseling there.
"She's visibly upset and has been since the incident, " which may have been triggered by Volpicelli's reaction to her son's epilepsy, Rotella said. Jack began having seizures "three or four weeks prior to his death, maybe a little bit more, and that may have been the driving thing behind her actions," he said.
Wearing glasses and jail khakis, Volpicelli stood with head down throughout as Rotella, Gasiorowski and Assistant Prosecutor Thomas Chirichella discussed the case.