Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Jarrod Davidson: Murderous family secret

Inoperable Cancer and a Sudden Case of Amnesia

As strange as this case was, it now took a new twist. Philip Jones was diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer. He was already disabled due to a car accident 20 years earlier, his attorney told the San Luis Obispo Tribune. Philip began chemotherapy treatments and required an oxygen tank to breathe.

Mindy wasn't going to be outdone. She claimed to have amnesia with no recollection of the past three decades and spoke in a childish voice. Her defense attorney, Philip Landheer, asked a judge to declare Mindy incompetent to stand trial since she was unable to aid in her defense. In addition, she had a "documented history of treatment for mental illness," according to a defense brief quoted by the San Luis Obispo Tribune.

Prosecutors disagreed, saying Mindy was merely pretending to have such an ailment to derail her pending trial. Superior Court Judge Frank Ochoa agreed.

"Lack of recollection due to amnesia is not sufficient evidence of incompetence" to stand trial, the Tribune quoted the judge as saying. Ochoa also refused to appoint a psychiatrist to evaluate Mindy.

Landheer told the Tribune that his client's traumatic amnesia left him "hamstrung in my ability to perform my duties."

Mindy later made a halfhearted attempt at suicide by scratching her wrists. She was treated at a hospital and returned to jail.

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