Doctors assessing a Redwood City mother accused of drugging and
attacking her husband and children with a 10-pound dumbbell need more
time to determine if she was insane at the time.
Philomena Mary Brown, 40, has already entered twin pleas of not
guilty and not guilty by reason of insanity to multiple counts of
attempted murder. On Wednesday, a trio of court-appointed doctors were
scheduled to return their conclusions on Brown’s mental state but
instead asked for more time. The reports are now due Sept. 21.
Although Brown has already opted for an insanity plea, the
reports can give her defense some guidance on whether to continue
pursuing that avenue, said Assistant District Attorney Karen Guidotti.
Unlike competency, which is a person’s ability to aid in their
own defense, sanity is a person’s mental state at the time of an
Brown is charged with three counts of premeditated attempted
murder — alongside child abuse charges — which leaves her facing life
in prison if convicted. The key is the premeditation allegation which
prosecutors say is shown by her knowingly slipping drugs to her
husband, 23-year-old daughter and 13-year-old son the night before the
June 21 attack.
Police arrested Brown after receiving a call from the son who
said he and his sister were attacked with a dumbbell at the family’s
home at 1010 Vera Ave. Later details showed that Brown’s husband of 26
years and the children were allegedly drugged the previous night by
something she placed in their food.
Brown fled the house and was found by sheriff’s deputies later
than afternoon at Pomponio State Beach where authorities believe she
tried to kill herself with prescription medication and she was
hospitalized before being medically cleared and taken to the women’s
Defense attorney Vince O’Malley has said his client suffered a
mental breakdown in the weeks before the attack, believing people
wanted to harm or even kill her family.
If Brown’s defense maintains the insanity plea, a jury will
first decide if she is guilty. If so, the sanity phase will follow next.
Brown remains in custody on no-bail status.