UTICA – The Utica woman accused of stabbing her mother to death last year has been found fit to stand trial.
Tasheonia Hills is accused of stabbing her mother, 44-year-old Irene Williams, to death at the Humphrey Gardens apartment complex in Utica on Feb. 6, 2017. Police say they were initially called to the apartment complex on Herkimer Road by a relative for a report of an unresponsive female, and shortly after Hills was charged with second-degree murder.
Just a few days after Hills was charged with killing her mother, the judge ordered a psychiatric evaluation because Hills was making inappropriate requests of the court, and when she was arrested she refused to take a booking photo and give fingerprints. Two doctors found that Hills was unable to understand the court proceedings against her and she was then held in a psychiatric facility for 90 days, which was then extended.
After receiving treatment, it was determined Monday in Oneida County Court that Hills is fit to stand trial, but that doesn’t mean mental health won’t play a role in her defense.
According to Oneida County District Attorney Scott McNamara, Hills’ defense is planning to use insanity as the reasoning for why she is not guilty. This means that while she may be fit to stand trial now, her lawyers think she did not understand what was happening the night her mother was killed.
Under this type of defense, Hills’ lawyers must tell the prosecution that there is a mental health element to their case. Both sides will then have Hills evaluated by different psychiatrists before they go to trial. The prosecution’s ability to have the defendant evaluated makes the insanity defense different from any other defense.
A Huntley Hearing, which will review the manner in which police obtained statements from Hills, is scheduled for April 15 in Oneida County Court.