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CALDWELL, Idaho (AP) — A judge on Wednesday ordered a 24-year-old woman accused in a beating death at halfway house in Nampa to receive treatment for mental illness rather than go to trial on a first-degree murder charge.
Defendant Kayla Teton will remain in Canyon County Jail until another hearing on Dec. 30 to determine where she will be sent to for treatment, KTVB-TV reported (http://bit.ly/1YhUIQX).
Police say Teton got a metal bar out of a bathroom on Oct. 25 and used it to kill 52-year-old Linda Westmoreland at the Port of Hope halfway house.
Prosecutors and defense attorneys agreed Teton is mentally ill.
David Smethers, her public defender, argued in court that Teton should be committed to the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare, meaning she would be sent to one of Idaho's two state mental hospitals.
Prosecutors, however, said Teton is too dangerous and should be sent to an Idaho Department of Correction facility for treatment. They noted that a patient at State Hospital South walked away from that facility last week and spent six days on the loose before turning himself in.
"I just want to know she is being treated in a place that is safe and secure for all involved," said Magistrate Judge Brian Lee.
Teton is being held without bail. The commitment order allows Health and Welfare workers to meet with her to do an evaluation and start treatment.
The case could go to trial if it's eventually determined that Teton is competent to help with her defense.
Information from: KTVB-TV, http://www.ktvb.com/