Case against Sebastopol woman accused of killing mother moves forward

Criminal proceedings were reinstated Friday against a Sebastopol woman accused of stabbing her mother to death.

Julia Franzen, 25, was given a new court date to enter a plea in the death of Nancy Franzen, 59, who was killed in her Tocchini Road home on Feb. 4, 2013.

Police arrested the daughter after witnesses reported seeing her outside the home carrying a knife with blood covering her hands.

Franzen was initially charged with murder, but she was declared incompetent to stand trial.

The determination came after she made bizarre statements at initial court hearings and was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia.

Following a six-month stay at Napa State Hospital, Franzen was found competent, meaning essentially that she understands the nature of the charges against her and what the court process is, said her attorney, Deputy Public Defender Tyler Hicks.

On Friday, she appeared to be much calmer than in previous court appearances, observers noted, and not as thin as before. Sitting handcuffed in a wheelchair, she smiled briefly at Judge Jaime Thistlethwaite.

Hicks said outside the courtroom Friday she had improved through medical treatment, "but she is a mentally ill person."

He said it is possible she may enter a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity. Her next court appearance is set for April 4.

Franzen, a 2006 Analy High School graduate, lived with her mother for about 15 years at the Tocchini Street residence, which is just outside the northern Sebastopol city limits.

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