SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A woman accused of fatally shooting her 74-year-old great-aunt in the victim's Tierrasanta home 11 days before Christmas is mentally incompetent to stand trial and will be sent to a state mental hospital for treatment, a judge ruled Monday.
Tiffany Nicole Burney, 23, is charged with murder in the death of Daisy Mae Hayes.
After reviewing a doctor's report, Superior Court Judge Frederick Maguire ruled that Burney was unable to understand the charges against her and could not assist her attorney at trial.
Burney will stay at Patton State Hospital for up to three years, or until her competency is restored. If criminal proceedings are reinstated and the defendant is convicted, she faces 50 years to life in prison.
At Burney's arraignment last year, Deputy District Attorney Roy Lai alleged the defendant shot her great-aunt four times in the face from close range in the early morning hours of Dec. 14.
Lai said Hayes was at a hospital the previous day taking care of her husband of 55 years, who was recovering from back surgery.
Burney was apparently let into the victim's home early the next morning, because there were no signs of a struggle, the prosecutor said.
Burney fired five shots at her great-aunt, with four hitting the victim in the face and head, according to Lai.
Hayes' body was found the night of Dec. 14 in the living room of her Gabacho Drive home after relatives were unable to reach her and went to the residence to check on her welfare.
Burney, the granddaughter of the victim's sister, was arrested three days later in La Mesa.
The prosecutor said the defendant lived a transient lifestyle and police had trouble locating her after the shooting.
Burney was an "angry, frustrated and unstable" individual who had access to an unregistered revolver and used it to kill her great-aunt, he alleged.
According to court records, Burney was the subject of two mental health cases filed in 2010 and also filed a lawsuit against the county mental health agency in August of that year.
A local war hero is about to be laid to rest. Retired Navy Captain James "Duffy" Hutton spent years of his service as a prisoner of war in Vietnam before he settled down here in San Diego.
Sunday marked day two of the government shutdown - and with the work week beginning Monday - thousands of employees may not go back to work.
Temperatures are expected to rise slightly on Sunday, according to the National Weather Service, but will remain cooler than normal.
A motorcyclist was suspected of drunken driving after causing a late-night car crash in Pacific Beach, police said Sunday, and hours later, a second crash occurred in the intersection while police were still investigating.
The San Diego County Planning Commission voted 6-1 last week to recommend that the County’s Board of Supervisors approve the County’s revised Climate Action Plan, with some modifications.
John Coleman, a long-serving San Diego weatherman and founder of The Weather Channel, has died at the age of 83.
Several dogs were taken into the custody of San Diego County and put down, after a Lomita woman reported that her six dogs were attacked and some killed by a group of pit bulls.
Thousands of people marched through downtown San Diego and San Marcos in the second annual Women's March Saturday. The San Diego event began at 10 a.m. at the downtown Waterfront Park on Pacific Highway, while the North County event began at 11 a.m. at Palomar College.
Thousands of people marched through downtown San Diego and San Marcos in the second annual Women's March Saturday. The San Diego event began at 10 a.m. at the downtown Waterfront Park on Pacific Highway, while the North County event began at 11 a.m. at Palomar College. The two marches were held in conjunction with other marches across the country.
The federal government shut down at the stroke of midnight Friday, which prompted the closure of many federal operations, such as national parks and monuments and that included the shutdown of Cabrillo National Monument.