Wednesday, April 23, 2003

Woman incompetent for trial in fatal shooting, judge rules



By Jim Hannah
The Cincinnati Enquirer

A Kenton County judge has ruled that a Covington woman charged with gunning down another mother outside Latonia Elementary School in 2001 isn't stable enough to stand trial.

Circuit Judge Greg Bartlett ruled Monday the state should immediately begin involuntary hospitalization proceedings against Marjorie McElfresh.

Although he did not dismiss the murder charges against the 32-year-old, the judge wrote in his six-page order that it is unlikely McElfresh will be able to stand trial any time soon.

Assistant Commonwealth Attorney Michael Folk has filed a motion to begin the process for McElfresh to be admitted to a state psychiatric hospital. Under Kentucky law, McElfresh can ask for a jury trial on her competency if a judge rules she can be held against her will.

McElfresh has remained behind bars since her arrest on Sept. 12, 2001, in connection to the fatal shooting of Linda Gegner.

McElfresh called ahead and had school officials keep her child late, according to authorities. She then showed up with a gun and shot Gegner in the school parking lot as other parents were picking up their children.

The shooting paralyzed Gegner, who died of injury complications 10 months later.

According to Michael Folk, assistant commonwealth's attorney, McElfresh told psychiatrists that Gegner was the ringleader of a cult that had the power to invade people's minds. She claimed the cult put voices in her head that taunted her and invaded her home, he said.

Psychiatrists who examined McElfresh noted her long history of mental health problems, which included hearing voices, delusional thoughts and a personality disorder.

E-mail jhannah@enquirer.com




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