A judge has granted a lawyer’s request for a psychiatric examination of a woman accused of killing her roommate in Summerset last month.
Defense attorney Randy Connelly earlier said he has obtained confidential information that raised his concerns about the psychiatric state of the defendant, Stormy Marsh, during the alleged crime.
Marsh, 37, of Miles City, Mont., is charged in Meade County with second-degree murder in the death of Phyllis Mastin in August. Marsh pleaded not guilty to the offense.
According to police, the 49-year-old victim was found dead at her home in the Pine Hills Mobile Home Park after a witness saw Marsh “rummaging” through Mastin’s room. Inside Mastin’s car, which Marsh had been driving, investigators said they found a knife and clothes soaked with a substance similar to blood.
Marsh told police Mastin was alive when she left the mobile home after witnessing a fight between the victim and her ex-boyfriend, according to a law enforcement report filed at the Meade County Courthouse.
In a written request Sept. 6, Connelly told the court he wanted to find out if Marsh may have been mentally incompetent during the alleged offense. He said a doctor in Missoula, Mont., can conduct the evaluation, which is essential given that Marsh is facing a potential life sentence.
“The Defendant may have been incapable of knowing the wrongfulness of her alleged acts at the time they occurred, or may otherwise have exhibited a substantial disability/disorder of thought, mood or behavior affecting and impairing her judgment at the time,” the document reads.
Circuit Judge Gordon Swanson granted Connelly’s request Friday. Because Marsh is indigent, the evaluation cost of roughly $9,000 will be shouldered by the county, in accordance with state law.
Marsh, who is detained at the Meade County Jail, is due back in court Nov. 6. It's not clear when she'll be evaluated.
Mastin’s death is the first homicide and murder case in Meade County this year, according to the county state’s attorney’s office. Its last homicide case was a double murder that happened in Faith last year. The defendant, Berton Toavs, was sentenced to 210 years in prison this year after pleading guilty to shooting his ex-girlfriend and his roommate.