[KHTS] – Defense attorneys for a Castaic woman charged with her father’s murder asked for a mental evaluation before continuing the case.
Denise Ann Gillis, 48, of Castaic, appeared in court Monday where the defense raised a question about Gillis being mentally competent, said Ricardo Santiago, spokesman for the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.
“The judge postponed the criminal proceeding,” Santiago said.
The case is being sent over to the Mental Health/ Department 95 division where Gillis will be evaluated, he said.
Gillis is set to appear back in court on Nov. 17.
Gillis was arraigned Sept. 25 when she pleaded not guilty on a charge that she murdered her father with a special allegation that she used a knife.
James Gillis, 87, was found dead Sept. 5. inside his bedroom at 31963 Emerald Lane in the Stonegate residential community.
“He had several stab wounds and injuries on his head that had allegedly been inflicted the previous day,” according to a news release from the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.
Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station deputiesarrested Denise Gillis shortly after her father was found dead.
The deputy district attorney in charge of the case’s prosecution is asking for $1 million bail.
If convicted as charged, Denise Gillis faces a maximum sentence of 26 years to life in state prison.
A medical examiner with the Coroner’s Office is expected to make the official determination today after an autopsy.
“The information we have right now is that we was a victim of an assault — a stabbing,” said Lt. Fred Corral of the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office. “This came in as an apparent homicide.”
An official with the Homicide Bureau of the Sheriff’s Department confirmed the death was being investigated as a stabbing murder.
A “suspicious death” was reported Friday at 9:15 a.m. on the 31900 block of Emerald Lane, in a small residential community called Stonegate.
Denise Gillis was taken into custody around 10:30 a.m., according to Sheriff’s Department records and a neighbor who saw her placed in handcuffs in front of the home.
Ruth Seeder, a 17-year resident of the Stonegate neighborhood said it’s “very unusual” for a suspicious death to happen in the neighborhood.
“I walk around here at night all the time,” she said. “We all kind of look out for one another.”
Seeder said a younger woman and an older man lived in the house, and the woman was frequently seen walking her dog.
Another neighbor described Denise Gillis’ behavior in the days before the arrest as “erratic” and worrisome.