A Terrytown woman accused of killing the 85-year-old man who took her into his home a decade ago has been found to be “irrestorably incompetent” to stand trial in 24th Judicial District Court in Gretna.
Judge Stephen Enright on Wednesday ordered Krystal Behrens, 47, back into the custody of the state mental hospital in East Feliciana Parish after hospital medical reports and evaluations by two court-appointed doctors indicated Behrens shows no signs she will be able to understand the charges against her or assist in her own defense.
Court documents say the doctors also determined that Behrens is “a danger to herself and others.”
Behrens is accused of stabbing Moore Pilcher to death at their home in the 600 block of National Avenue in December 2017. Pilcher’s family and neighbors said he took Behrens in shortly after Hurricane Katrina because she had nowhere to go.
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Behrens had a history of mental illness and substance abuse, but Pilcher, who was known to friends as “Jerry” and had himself been sober for 45 years, had committed himself years before to helping others who struggled with inner demons.
Pilcher’s son Larry told Nola.com soon after the killing that his father, a former amateur boxer, offshore worker and salesman, had been a heavy drinker but quit around the time Larry was born.
Larry Pilcher said that while family members never knew Behrens to be violent, it was not difficult to understand how she could have come to take Moore Pilcher’s life.
Larry Pilcher called the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office after he hadn’t heard from his father for several days after Thanksgiving 2017. Authorities said at the time that Behrens answered the door and that deputies found Pilcher’s body in the corner of one of the rooms. He had died several days earlier from at least one stab wound to the torso.
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By law, the Louisiana Department of Heath will initiate commitment proceedings to keep Behrens at East Louisiana State Hospital near Jackson.
While the case against Behrens in the Jefferson Parish courthouse is now listed as closed, the charges normally would not be dismissed until after enough time has passed to equal the maximum sentence for the crime. In this case, Behrens was charged with second-degree murder, which carries a mandatory sentence of life in prison.
As such, the state will have to notify the Jefferson Parish District Attorney's Office if it releases Behrens as long as she is alive.
Behrens was represented by the Jefferson Public Defender's Office.