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Mental State Of North Fork Murder Defendant Still In Question

BASS LAKE — It has been more than nine months since Mary O’Keefe was arrested and charged with the murder of her North Fork neighbor Bonnie Hale, who was 76 years old when she was killed last December.

O’Keefe, 64, has been in custody undergoing psychological evaluations to determine if she is mentally fit to stand trial, and able to assist her attorney with her defense.

In Bass Lake Superior Court today, the case was continued yet again when a report from a third doctor – who was expected to evaluate O’Keefe but apparently was not informed in a timely manner – was not submitted to the court. The first two evaluations were at odds with each other, and did not agree on O’Keefe’s mental competency.

If the defendant is found to be mentally competent, the case will proceed to trial, says Madera County District Attorney David Linn. If not, she will likely be sent to a state mental hospital.

O’Keefe was arrested on Dec. 18, 2016, and charged with first degree murder with an elder abuse enhancement. She pleaded not guilty in Bass Lake Superior Court on Dec. 20, 2016.

An autopsy showed that Hale died of asphyxiation as a result of blunt force trauma to the throat.

The case has been rescheduled for Oct. 17.

North Fork Murder Suspect Pleads Not Guilty

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