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.

Nancy Franzen had worked as a medical-surgical nurse at Palm Drive Hospital and also worked at Sutter-VNA & Hospice in Santa Rosa.

Friends said she had ongoing problems with Julia, who has a 5-year-old daughter. Nancy Franzen built an apartment unit on the property for her daughter and tried to help her and her granddaughter, friends said.

Sheriff's deputies said they were dispatched several times over a two-year period on domestic violence calls in which Julia Franzen was the suspect.

She was convicted three years ago of assaulting her mother and sentenced to two years probation. Judge Thistlethwaite also ordered her to stay away from her mother's house.

Later in 2011 she served six months in jail for vandalism and inflicting corporal injury on a spouse. A male victim obtained a restraining order against her.

Authorities said the evidence suggests she chased her mother through her house, attacking her with a knife before the mother collapsed in a bedroom.

Investigators found a large kitchen knife believed used in the attack.

(You can reach Staff Writer Clark Mason at 521-5214 or