Entering a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity is something that bothers many people and especially prosecutors as suspects in different cases use this in order to avoid sentences for serious crimes. While many think this is a gap in the whole legal system in the country and should be changed, suspects continue to use it as their legal right.
So was the case with the suspect in today’s case, a woman who already used her legal right once, few years ago in 2014, when she was ruled not mentally fit to stand trial and avoided being jailed. In May, she was accused and charged for beating to death her 18-month-old child and she tried to do the same in court, but it didn’t work.
According to the court records, the 26-year-old M. Guarendi is accused for killing her 18-month-old boy last May in her Ohio home where she lived with her boyfriend, the 29-year-old K. Walker. They were both arrested the same day when the incident took place.
Authorities said they received a 911 call regarding a naked woman walking down the street and crews were dispatched at Guarendi’s home. When they arrived there, they found her standing naked in the street barely conscious telling the officers that her baby boy was dead.
Since she was not able to provide additional information, officers rushed to the house and easily located the baby who looked unresponsive under house furniture and with apparent bruises. The 18-month-old boy was transferred to a local hospital where he was later pronounced dead.
The couple was arrested that same day and the mother was charged with murder, while her boyfriend was initially charged with felony obstructing justice, but the charges against him were later upgraded to murder charges. The woman was being held on a $2 million bond, while Walker was being held on a $1 million bond.
Walker initially said that he was sleeping when the incident took place, but prosecutors believe they have enough evidence to prove his involvement in the beating leading to the infant’s death.
Thinking that she can use the same method as in 2014, the mother initially entered a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity (NGRI), meaning she contends she was not of sound mind when child died. But the judge in the case ordered sanity evaluation and physician has found Guarendi mentally competent to stand trial few days ago.
Following the recent physician opinion, an NGRI sanity evaluation will take place and a hearing to review the NGRI evaluation results is set for Dec. 15 before Stark County Common Pleas Judge Chryssa Hartnett. When the suspect was found mentally incompetent in 2014, she was appointed a guardian and she was under guardianship until the day she was arrested in May.
Walker remains scheduled for trial next year.