P.G. Woman Ruled Insane in Bike Death
By Paul Duggan
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, May 5, 1992 ; Page D10
A Bowie woman accused of deliberately killing a 10-year-old boy with her car last year was committed to a mental hospital yesterday after authorities agreed she was insane at the time of the incident and could not be held criminally liable for the child's death.
Maryland State Police said Kathlynn Ann Najera, 34, told them she was venting anger at society last Mother's Day when she allegedly rammed her car into the boy as he was riding a bicycle in Upper Marlboro. The youth, Dewayne Hawkins, died after five days in a coma.
At a Prince George's County Circuit Court hearing yesterday, Najera entered what is known in legal parlance as an Alford plea. Although technically she admitted no guilt, she agreed that prosecutors had enough evidence to convict her of first-degree murder in a trial.
Had she been convicted, a second phase of the trial would have dealt with her mental condition when the boy was killed.
As part of a bargain in which Najera gave up her right to a trial, prosecutor Andy Murray agreed yesterday that Najera was suffering from acute paranoid schizophrenia last Mother's Day and was not criminally responsible for her actions under Maryland law.
Judge Darlene G. Perry ordered her confined to a state mental hospital. Perry can order her freed if psychiatrists, after treating her, decide she no longer poses a threat to herself or others.
"I anticipate that day will come," said Najera's attorney, Leonard Stamm. "Her illness is treatable and her prognosis is good. But it's going to take a lot of time and a lot of patience."
Najera also had been charged with attempted murder for allegedly running down and slightly injuring another bicyclist moments before Hawkins was hit. The state agreed not to prosecute her on that charge as part of the plea bargain.
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