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Murder trial delayed as Sebastopol woman sent to mental hospital

A Sebastopol woman suspected of stabbing her mother to death was ordered Thursday to be sent to a mental hospital in an attempt to restore her competency to stand trial.

Julia Franzen, 24, will be sent to Napa State Hospital for up to three years after doctors deemed her unable to assist in her own defense.

She will receive treatment and could be brought back to stand trial in the slaying of Nancy Franzen, 59. She could then plead not guilty by reason of insanity. Or doctors could find that she can not be restored to competency and place her in a lifelong conservatorship, said her lawyer, Tyler Hicks.

Homicide Investigation In Sebastopol

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At least one psychiatrist who examined her diagnosed her with paranoid schizophrenia. Another testified she suffers from an unspecified psychotic disorder.

Earlier this month, Judge Jamie Thistlethwaite said Franzen could be forced to take anti-psychotic medication.

At Thursday's hearing, Franzen appeared to be laughing and talking to herself as she sat shackled to a wheelchair. At previous court appearances she blurted out bizarre comments.

Criminal proceedings have been suspended since Feb. 11.

The body of Franzen's mother was discovered in the bedroom of her Tocchini Road house on Feb. 4. Police believe the daughter chased her mother through several rooms before she collapsed from her wounds.

A neighbor called police to report being approached by Franzen, who had a knife in her bloody hands and said she'd killed someone.

The 2006 Analy High School graduate had a history of mental illness and was convicted of a 2011 assault on her mother. Deputies said they've been called to several domestic-violence related incidents in the past two years in which Julia Franzen was the suspect.

You can reach Staff Writer Paul Payne at 568-5312 or paul.payne@pressdemocrat.com.


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