ROCKVILLE, Md. — Editor's Note: The above video was published on August 4, 2022.
Catherine Hoggle's doctors and attorney say she is still absolutely incompetent to stand trial even eight years after her children's disappearance.
Authorities say if Hoggle is not declared competent by Dec. 1, time will run out and the murder charges against the mom accused of killing her own kids more than eight years ago will be dropped.
Hoggle appeared in court on Thursday, where authorities say she accurately answered questions from a judge about the functions of the legal system.
Hoggle, who wore a black surgical mask, was quiet but clear when answering the judge.
She said she had heard of attorney-client privilege and described the legal concept as “like a private conversation between someone and their lawyer.”
She said lawyers are the people who “prosecute or defend patients,” she then corrected the word to “clients.” She also stated her name and age accurately.
The whole court appearance lasted less than three minutes.
Prosecutor John McCarthy has been arguing for months that a judge, not a doctor, is responsible for determining competency to stand trial.
Thursday's decision by Judge James Bonifant to question Hoggle directly rather than relying on years of doctors' findings was bitterly opposed by Hoggle’s attorney.
Psychiatrist Dr. Adam Brown, who assessed Hoggle, said her answers did not change his opinion that she is psychotic, suffers hallucinations, has disordered thoughts and is incompetent to stand trial.
Judge Bonifant will ultimately be the one to decide whether Hoggle is competent or not to stand trial. A final hearing is scheduled for Wednesday.
If Hoggle is not declared competent by Dec. 1, time runs out and the murder charges against her must be dropped by state law.
The children's father, Troy Turner, has said he’s praying a trial will result in Hoggle finally telling where his missing kids, Sarah and Jacob's, bodies were hidden. The children were 2 and 3 when they disappeared in 2014.
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