A Sebastopol woman suspected of stabbing her mother to death made her first court appearance Wednesday, whispering "I love you" to someone in the audience before blurting out statements to the judge.
Judge Jamie Thistlethwaite warned Julia Katherine Franzen, 24, that she was charged with killing her mother, former Palm Drive Hospital nurse Nancy Franzen, 59, and that anything she said could be used against her in the murder case.
Still, Franzen, who authorities said has a history of mental illness, kept talking, offering up a fragmented statement that sounded vaguely like a confession to some spectators in the audience.
"I'm being abused. It doesn't make any sense for me to go through it the normal way," Franzen said during her arraignment.
It was unclear exactly what she meant.
Neither her lawyer, George Boisseau, nor any of the half-dozen people who came to see her would comment outside court.
Her next court date is Feb. 11.
Franzen was arrested Monday at her mother's Tocchini Street home. A neighbor reported Franzen had a knife in her bloody hands and had admitted killing someone, authorities said.
Deputies found her mother's body on a bedroom floor. A trail of blood in the home showed Nancy Franzen was attacked in one room and moved through others before she collapsed, Sheriff's Lt. Dennis O'Leary said.
An autopsy was conducted Wednesday.
The mother and daughter moved into the house about 15 years ago, neighbors said. Julia Franzen graduated from Analy High School in 2006 and had a daughter. They lived with Nancy Franzen for a period of time.
Nancy Franzen worked at Palm Drive as a medical-surgical nurse sometime before 2007 and was active in local Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, according to friends and former colleagues.
"She did her job very well and tried to have a smile doing it," said Lori Semmelmeyer, a Palm Drive emergency employee.
Semmelmeyer said she knew the woman had ongoing problems with her daughter. Local police officers had been called out to the home many times, she said.
Semmelmeyer and Nancy Franzen often sought advice from a Sebastopol police officer who stopped by the hospital to drop off patients.
"He knew a lot of us had troubles with our teenagers," she said.
Nancy Franzen did everything she could to help Julia and her granddaughter, including building her an apartment unit on the property, Semmelmeyer said.
"When Nancy would try to talk to her, she would never get just a logical answer," Semmelmeyer said. "The daughter was always over the top. She built her an apartment, but she would say, 'That's just not enough.' "
Deputies said they were dispatched to the house several times in the past two years on domestic violence calls in which Julia Franzen was the suspect.
Court records show Franzen was convicted in a March 2011 assault on her mother and sentenced to two years' probation. The judge, Thistlethwaite, issued a stay-away order from her mother's house.
Later that year, she served six months in jail for vandalism and inflicting corporal injury on a spouse. A male victim received a restraining order against her.
A judge sentenced Franzen to 90 days in jail last year for violating the order and obstructing officers. She had another violation in August but was released for time already served.
Shelters for Pawnee fire evacuees
Lower Lake High School, 9430 Lake St., Lower Lake, is the official shelter established for people evacuating from the Pawnee fire. It is equipped to handle animals.
The Clearlake Oaks Moose Lodge, 15900 E. Highway 20, Clearlake Oaks, is not authorized by the Office of Emergency Services but is also sheltering fire evacuees, mostly people in campers and RVs who want their animals with them.
There is an authorized Lake County animal services station in an open field at Highway 53 and Anderson Ridge Road in Lower Lake.