A 61-year-old mentally ill woman who admitted to police that she stabbed her 88-year-old mother was supposed to start taking a higher dosage of medication on the day of the killing, the woman’s lawyer, Samuel King Jr., said yesterday.
Claudia Warner-Gonzales is awaiting trial in Circuit Court for second-degree murder for the March 22 stabbing death of her mother, Dorothy Y.K. Stribling.
Circuit Judge Richard Perkins declared Warner-Gonzales mentally unfit to stand trial for murder yesterday based on the reports of three court-appointed mental health examiners.
Two of the three examiners declared her unfit, and all three said Warner-Gonzales should not be held legally responsible for Stribling’s death because of her mental illness, King said.
A judge cannot declare Warner-Gonzales not guilty by reason of insanity until she is deemed fit to stand trial.
Perkins has scheduled a review of her mental fitness in three months.
King said Warner-Gonzales has been taking medication for her mental illness for more than 20 years. On the morning of the stabbing, she was to begin taking a higher dosage.
"Her time to take it was like 9:30. The incident happened at 8:30," he said.
The state moved Warner-Gonzales to the Hawaii State Hospital in April because the staff at the Oahu Community Correctional Center for pretrial inmates could not handle her, King said.
"She was so difficult to handle. Mentally, she was suicidal. She was talking to herself," he said.
Warner-Gonzales’ condition has improved since transferring to the State Hospital, so the state Health Department wants to move her back to OCCC. A hearing is scheduled for Thursday.
King said he opposes moving her.
When Honolulu police arrived at Stribling’s Nuuanu home, they said Warner-Gonzales told them, "I stabbed my mom. Forgive me. I stabbed her."
Stribling’s son told police he heard a scream and found Warner-Gonzales standing over his mother. He said Stribling had a knife with a 9-inch blade lodged in her left shoulder.
An ambulance took Stribling to the Queen’s Medical Center, where she died.