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Preliminary Hearing In North Fork Murder Case

BASS LAKE — North Fork resident Mary O’Keefe was back in Bass Lake Superior Court today, this time for a long-awaited preliminary hearing on the charge of first degree murder with an enhancement of elder abuse in the killing of beloved North Fork citizen Bonnie Hale.

Hale was found deceased on the back patio of her home on Road 225 by her son Bobby Hale on Dec. 17, 2016.

O’Keefe was located shortly thereafter on a property nearby, with fresh cuts on her face and signs that she had been in some type of altercation.

Four different doctors evaluated O’Keefe’s mental competency, and on Dec. 18, 2017, Judge Charles Wieland ruled that she was competent to stand trial and assist in her own defense.

For over a year, Bonnie Hale’s family members have been attending an ongoing series of court dates, and finally today, they heard the prosecution present just enough of its case to show that they have the evidence to tie O’Keefe to the crime.

The court heard testimony from Bobby Hale, Madera County Sheriff’s Homicide Detective John Grayson, Deputy Homer Puga, California Department of Justice Criminalist Christopher Johnson, and Dr. Mark Super who performed the autopsy.

After hearing all the evidence presented, Judge Wieland ruled that O’Keefe would be held to answer on the murder charge and the special allegation.

O’Keefe will be arraigned on the charges on Jan. 30, with a trial expected in late March.

She remains behind bars on a $1 million bond.

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