BASS LAKE — More than 10 months after being charged with first degree murder with an elder abuse enhancement, the woman accused of killing Bonnie Hale was back in Bass Lake Superior Court today for a competency hearing. This is the third hearing on competency, to date, and the case has been continued again.
Mary O’Keefe, 64, has been in custody since her arrest on Dec. 18, 2016, for the murder of beloved North Fork resident Hale, who was 76 years old when she died.
After pleading not guilty to the charges on Dec. 20, 2016, O’Keefe has been undergoing psychological evaluations to determine if she is mentally fit to stand trial, and able to assist her attorney with her defense.
There have been numerous delays in this case, as three different doctors have been called upon to assess O’Keefe’s mental competence to stand trial.
In July, Judge Charles Weiland told attorneys, “There have been differing reports, and you can’t keep adding another doctor in the hopes you get the desired opinion. One says she’s competent, another says she’s not. It will be up to the trier of fact to make that determination, and these delays just keep piling up expenses.”
O’Keefe returned to court on Sept. 26 for what was supposed to be the final determination of her competency. However, on that date the case was continued when a report from a third doctor was not submitted to the court.
Today, the case was continued again, as a report remains pending, and the court awaits receipt of additional medical records, including a neurological report which had been subpoenaed by the defense.
The doctor’s report is due to be received by the court no later than Monday, Nov. 13. O’Keefe will return to Bass Lake Superior Court when the case resumes on Thursday, Nov. 16.