A Long Island judge found that a woman who stabbed a British tourist visiting her home did so in a moment of psychosis and is not responsible for second-degree murder.
Justice Robert Bogle issued the verdict in the historic trial, which was conducted in part over video, in Nassau County on Wednesday, Newsday reported.
The defense and the judge did not dispute that Faye Doomchin, 68, of Great Neck, New York, fatally stabbed Denise Webster, who was visiting her home with a mutual friend two years ago.
Webster, who was 61 when she died, was a British tourist visiting the United States for several weeks. She came to Doomchin's home with a mutual friend where they ate cake before Doomchin went into the kitchen, got a large knife and stabbed Webster.
Doomchin attended the week-long, non-jury trial via a Skype video call from the jail in Nassau County, making it the first hybrid criminal trial in New York state, the newspaper reported. Some of the proceedings also took place in person at the county court.
Doomchin is diagnosed with a serious mental illness, schizophrenia, and previously stabbed a stranger, who did not die, at a real estate office in 1999. She also plead not responsible due to mental illness in that case and completed years of outpatient treatment, the newspaper reported.
Doomchin's husband, Michael, testified at the trial and described his wife's decades long struggle with mental illness in which she believed that she had been tasked with ridding the world of evil, the newspaper reported.
In response to the verdict, a spokesperson for the Nassau district attorney's office told the newspaper that prosecutors respected the judge’s decision and said, "This case was a horrific tragedy, and our thoughts remain with Ms. Webster’s family."
An attorney for Doomchin, Robert Gottlieb said, "This was the right verdict. It reflected the true meaning of justice."
The judge will hear the opinions of mental health experts who will evaluate Doomchin before deciding if she should be released or sent to a psychiatric facility. On Wednesday, he said she was, "a violent and dangerous person, who should be institutionalized to receive the treatment she needs."