Middletown woman charged with her sister’s murder returns to court to be heard on insanity plea

MIDDLETOWN, Ohio (WXIX) – A Middletown woman charged with the murder of her sister will return to court Thursday for a hearing on her insanity plea.

Butler County Court of Common Pleas Judge Keith Spaeth recently ruled that Monica Pennington has been reinstated and set her trial for September 12.

His lawyer, however, pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity on his behalf last year shortly after he was charged.

This forces the judge to order another psychological evaluation and hold another hearing. It’s set for 9 a.m.

The insanity plea claims that a person was mentally impaired at the time of the alleged crime. They could not know or understand the nature of their actions or distinguish the difference between right and wrong – and that was wrong.

Ultimately, the jury – or the judge in the case of a bench trial – decides whether they believe it.

Unfit to stand trial refers to an accused’s ability to participate in their own defense and understand the charges against them at the time they are charged. The judge hearing the case determines this, not a jury.

While Pennington’s case works through the court system, she continues to be held in Butler County Jail in lieu of $650,000 bond.

She was charged on October 20, 2021 for the shooting death of her sister during a physical fight.

Pennington, 49, admitted shooting his sister with his own pistol during the argument, which involved alcohol, police said.

She told Middletown police the death of her older sister, Pamela Pennington, 52, was believed to be a murder-suicide, but her sister was not a successful suicide, prosecutors say.

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