September 26, 2017 07:01 PM
Holly Colino, charged with murder for the apparently random shooting of a woman sitting in a parked truck in Brockport, will undergo a mental evaluation to establish if she’s fit for trial, a judge ruled Tuesday.
"You've got to be sort of mental anyway to commit a murder," said Donnie Duncanson, brother of the victim, who sat in court watching the proceedings. "So let it play out and let justice do its thing and hopefully it will prevail."
Judge Charles Schiano ordered that Colino be tested under Article 730 of state law and ordered her to return to court on October 31 after the evaluation was performed.
Prosecutors accuse Colino of shooting Megan Dix, 33, in the head in an unprovoked attack as Dix sat in her pickup truck having lunch in a secluded Brockport parking lot.
Questions about Colino's mental state emerged shortly after her arrest with the revelation of an apparent spate of graffiti tagging as well as YouTube videos in which Colino appears to angrily accuse women, strangers, of stealing her identity.
"There is already evidence to suggest that [mental] examination is appropriate," said Colino's attorney Mark Foti, who requested the testing. "I think a lot of what the judge saw is what the public has seen at this point... information that comes out of those videos, that has been conveyed to the court."
Still, Foti said the the request for mental testing was not part of an attempt to start a defense for Colino that would assert she was mentally ill at the time of the murder. "Ultimately, the competency examination is a determination of her mental state right now," Foti said, adding that any decision on an insanity defense would be made in the future.
Dix's relatives rejected the idea of a mental illness defense for Colino.
"I still think she was sane enough to get her gun," said Duncanson, "to come from Arizona, two days before a college started where she'd gotten expelled, commits a murder. She was on her way back trying to commit another murder. But, it will all play out."
Prosecutors said any questions about Colino's mental competency to take part in a murder trial and her mental state at the time of the crime would be totally separate issues and added that, even if she were declared not mentally fit for trial in her evaluation, that could change.
“People have been found incompetent," explained Assistant District Attorney Julie Hahn, "and that status lasts for a few months. But then they are able to regain an understanding of the process and then we pick up where we left off."
Dix's relatives said it was grueling watching legal and technical maneuvers as they waited for justice for their loved one but vowed to be in court for all proceedings.
"It's tough. It's tough," said Denise Duncanson, Dix's sister in law. "You want to make sure justice is done but you have to go through channels to get to that point."
Donnie Duncanson admitted it was particularly difficult to watch Holly Colino herself come into the courtroom and sit just a few feet away.
"You want to jump over and give her a beating," he said. "But, you know, Megan was a better person than I would ever be and she would like to see the justice system take care of it."
Updated: September 26, 2017 07:01 PM
Created: September 26, 2017 10:43 AM
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