DURHAM, N.C. — A trial has started for a North Carolina man charged with drowning his 3-year-old daughter and trying to kill his other two children.

News outlets report 33-year-old Alan Lassiter’s trial began Friday with jurors hearing conflicting arguments about his mental state at the time of his daughter’s killing.

A prosecutor, Boz Zellinger, says Lassiter knew what he was doing when he bound the hands and feet of his two young daughters and tossed them into a Durham pond in 2015.

Defense attorney Lindsay Bass told jurors that Lassiter is severely mentally ill and believed he needed to kill his children to save them from foster care.

An off-duty sheriff’s deputy pulled the girls from the water, but Lassiter’s 3-year-old daughter, Calista, died. Lassiter’s 7-year-old son escaped and ran for help.

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