Teen's stabbing trial is postponed

January 20, 1994|By Darren M. Allen | Darren M. Allen,Staff Writer

Sara E. Citroni, one of the teen-agers charged in the stabbing deaths of two Westminster people in July, said in court documents filed yesterday that she was insane at the time of the killings and is incompetent to stand trial now.

Carroll Circuit Judge Raymond E. Beck Sr. ordered Ms. Citroni to undergo a psychiatric evaluation at the Clifton T. Perkins Hospital Center to determine whether she is mentally competent.

Her trial, which was to begin Feb. 7, has been indefinitely postponed.

Ms. Citroni, 17, is being charged as an adult. She and her boyfriend, Jason Aaron DeLong, 19, were charged in the July 29 slayings of Catherine Brace Farrar, 39 -- Mr. DeLong's mother -- and her friend, George William Wahl, 35 -- a brother-in-law of Carroll State's Attorney Thomas E. Hickman.

Assistant Public Defender Brian Green, Ms. Citroni's lawyer, said Ms. Citroni suffered a "psychotic episode" Saturday in her cell at the Carroll County Detention Center.

An evaluation could take up to two months, officials said. If Ms. Citroni is deemed incompetent, she would be confined to a state mental hospital, and her trial would be postponed until she is ruled competent, if that ever happens.

If the evaluation says she is competent, she would go to trial and, according to her pleadings yesterday, she would plead not guilty by reason of insanity. A jury would be asked to find guilt or innocence first, then a judge or jury would decide whether she was insane, officials said.

It was not clear yesterday what effect the postponment of Ms. Citroni's case would have on Mr. DeLong's case, which also was scheduled to begin Feb. 7.

Mr. DeLong's attorneys, Luther C. West and Catherine Flynn of Baltimore, said yesterday that they expect the case against their client also to be postponed.

The defense attorneys have requested a postponement to give them more time to prepare Mr. DeLong's defense. Mr. West said earlier this month -- and repeated yesterday -- that Mr. DeLong killed his mother in self-defense. The lawyer said Mr. DeLong will say he was sexually abused by his mother all his life and, on July 29, he "snapped."

Westminster police discovered the bodies of Ms. Farrar and Mr. Wahl in Ms. Farrar's Bishop's Garth apartment Aug. 2. Ms. Farrar, a popular nursing aide, had been stabbed more than 80 times, and Mr. Wahl, who worked at a McDonald's restaurant, had more than 40 knife wounds.

Baltimore Assistant State's Attorneys Timothy J. Doory and Ara Crowe, who are prosecuting the case because of Mr. Wahl's relationship to Mr. Hickman, could not be reached yesterday for comment.

Both teens have been charged with two counts each of first- and second-degree murder, manslaughter, stabbing with intent to maim and conspiracy to each of those counts.

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