Fri, Mar 02, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Court says mother-in-law’s killing due to schizophrenia

EXCUSED:Prosecutors said neighbors described the family as ‘very close,’ but noticed strange mood swings in a woman before she stabbed her in-law

By Hsieh Chun-lin and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

The Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office yesterday said it would not prosecute a 52-year-old woman suspected of killing her 80-year-old mother-in-law last year, adding that she was diagnosed with schizophrenia after a psychological evaluation and that the condition prevented her from distinguishing right from wrong at the time of the murder.

The defendant, surnamed Chang (張), on March 17 last year was preparing food at the family-owned noodle store with her mother-in-law, surnamed Cheng (程), when she attacked Cheng with a kitchen knife, prosecutors said.

Chang told her husband about the attack and Cheng was rushed to hospital, but did not survive, prosecutors said.

Medical records showed that Chang visited a local hospital a day before the attack to see help for her condition, which doctors suspected was depression, prosecutors said, adding that Chang also allegedly told her neighbors that she had had suicidal thoughts and the urge to choke people.

Neighbors also said that Cheng had mentioned in passing that her daughter-in-law was acting strange and was having radical mood swings, prosecutors said.

However, the neighbors expressed disbelief at the thought that Chang would commit such an act, as the family was extremely close and often traveled together, prosecutors said.

After questioning Chang last year, prosecutors set bail at NT$150,000, on the condition that she undergo mandatory treatment as required by the Mental Health Act (精神衛生法).

Chang was diagnosed with schizophrenia during the investigation and doctors said that she was unaware of her actions at the time of the homicide, prosecutors said.

As Chang was unaware of her actions and did not intend to commit a crime, the prosecutors decided not to indict her, they said.

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