MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Md. (WJZ) — Charges against a mother accused of killing her children could soon be dropped.
Jacob and Sarah went missing back in 2014. Their mother, Catherine Hoggle, who is accused of murdering them, has been deemed incompetent to stand trial over the past five years.
The children’s father, Troy Turner, is worried she soon could be free.
“I believe that there are just evil people out there, and she is one of those,” Turner said.
Prosecutors and Hoggle’s attorney went head-to-head Tuesday inside a Montgomery County courtroom over whether or not charges should be dropped.
After the hearing, Turner said it looked to him that Hoggle knew exactly what was going on.
“Whenever I was speaking about what she’s done, she was reacting like someone who seemed pretty competent and understood everything,” Turner said. “I don’t know if anyone in this courtroom noticed and looked at her whenever I was talking, but she was 100 percent reacting to everything I said.”
According to courtroom records, Hoggle was first found incompetent to stand trial in 2015, and was confined to a mental health hospital.
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Under Maryland law, if someone is found incompetent for five years, felony charges against them must be dropped.
Hoggle’s lawyer argued time is up.
“In the United States and in Maryland, we don’t try people who can’t defend themselves,” David Felsen, Hoggle’s attorney, said.
State’s Attorney John McCarthy argued there’s still two more years left because Hoggle wasn’t indicted on murder charges until 2017.
“An issue at hand, in this case, there isn’t any case law,” McCarthy said. “It’s never been decided before.”
Now the decision falls on the judge.
“To let her walk out, if it’s now, six months from now, 18 months from now, to put her out on the street will give her a license to do whatever she thinks is okay to do, and we’ve already seen where they get us,” Turner said.
The judge said he plans to make that decision and have a hand-written opinion within the next two weeks.