Mental health questioned in case of Sheridan stabbing-murder suspect

By: Gus Thomson, Reporter/Columnist
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Questions surrounding the mental health of a Sheridan stabbing-murder suspect may be resolved in December.

Criminal proceedings against 34-year-old Ana Maria Bejenariu were again put off Oct. 1 by Placer County Superior Court Judge Frances Kearney.

Instead, Kearney elected to move the issue of whether the suspect is mentally competent to stand trial to a separate hearing Dec. 8 in Auburn. Criminal proceedings are suspended while a decision is made on Bejenariu’s competency to understand the nature of criminal proceedings or assist her defense attorney.

The competency trial before Kearney, without a jury, is expected to take two to three days.

Bejenariu remains in Placer County Jail on a murder charge in connection with the death of her mother, Maria Bejenariu, 61, of Sheridan. The elder Bejenariu died after being stabbed in a July 2013 attack at her home.

At a previous hearing, Bejenariu had spoken out, expressing frustration over not being transferred to a state mental hospital. This time, she again spoke but was quickly brought to silence by Kearney.

“You have the right to remain silent,” Kearney said. “And it’s usually a good idea to exercise that right.”