Yakima Woman Competent to Stand Trial in Mental Hospital Killing - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Yakima Woman Competent to Stand Trial in Mental Hospital Killing

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SPOKANE, Wash. - Doctors have found a psychiatric patient from Yakima competent to stand trial on murder charges.

Prosecutors say 30-year-old Amber Roberts killed another patient at Eastern State Hospital. Doctors at Western State Hospital in Lakewood have now evaluated her, and say she understands the charge and can assist her lawyer in her defense. 

Roberts has pleaded innocent to murder charges in the death of another patient, 56-year-old Duane Charley.

A hospital staff member found Charley's body in November. Police say he had been strangled to death. 

Court documents show Roberts approached the staff member in the early morning hours after Charley's death and said, "I murdered someone, but you're going to have to find him." Those records show she told the staff she strangled him with an electrical cord.

Roberts had been a patient at Eastern since 2004 after a Yakima Judge found her innocent of attempted murder, kidnapping, robbery and theft charges by reason of insanity.

Court documents show back in 2003, Roberts stole the purse and car keys of a 72-year-old woman and tried to choke her. Yakima Police say when they caught Roberts after the incident, she told police she intended to kill the elderly woman.

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