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North Fork Murder Suspect Pleads Not Guilty

MADERA — The woman accused in the death of North Fork resident Bonnie Hale pleaded not guilty this afternoon in Madera Superior Court.

Mary O’Keefe, 63, also of North Fork, was arrested on Saturday, Dec. 18, after Bobby Hale, Jr., reportedly found his mother deceased on the patio of her home located on Road 225.

O’Keefe is charged with first degree murder with an elder abuse enhancement.

The defendant appeared dazed and confused in court today. When asked if she needed an attorney, she told the judge that David Linn was her lawyer. Linn, who used to be a defense attorney, is now the Madera County District Attorney.

Linn says his office has been in discussions with O’Keefe’s defense attorneys concerning her mental competency as the case moves forward, and that her mental health may be one of the causative factors in the events that took place.

An autopsy showed that Hale died of asphyxiation as a result of blunt force trauma to the throat. In an interview with ABC30, Linn said the weapon was an unusual one — a cleaving tool was used during the altercation between O’Keefe and the victim.

“This is a serious murder case,” said Linn, “and thanks to the work of the Madera County Sheriff’s Office and the Coroner’s Office, we will more forward swiftly with our prosecution.”

O’Keefe will appear in Bass Lake Superior Court on Thursday, Dec. 22, for a pre-preliminary hearing and bail review, and Jan. 5, 2017, has been set for the preliminary hearing.

O’Keefe remains behind bars on a $1 million bond.


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