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Prosecutors re-file charges against Buckley woman suspected of killing boyfriend

Post by Adam Lynn / The News Tribune on Dec. 21, 2011 at 2:58 pm |
December 21, 2011 2:58 pm

Pierce County prosecutors have re-filed a first-degree murder charge against a woman whose mental-health troubles have kept her from being prosecuted in the 2009 shooting death of her boyfriend.

Superior Court Judge Gary Steiner this afternoon ordered officials at Western State Hospital to evaluate Tammie Beth Pinkney to determine whether she is competent to stand trial in the death of Robert Irby, 61.

Irby died in May 2009 after being shot multiple times in his home in Buckley. He and Pinkney allegedly argued about her crack-cocaine use when she returned home May 13, court records show. She then retrieved a gun from her pickup and shot Irby, the records show.

Pinkney called 911 the next day to report Irby was not breathing. Firefighters found him dead and called police.

Pinkney, 43, was arrested and allegedly confessed to shooting Irby, court documents state, but she’s twice been found mentally incompetent to stand trial. The charges against her were dismissed as a result, and she’s been held at Western State Hospital since.

Prosecutors decided to re-file the charges when Western State Hospital officials notified them Pinkney’s mental health had improved enough that she was eligible to earn unescorted leave from the hospital, deputy prosecutor Stephen Penner said Wednesday.

She’s expected back in court next month for hearing to determine whether she is mentally fit to go to trial.

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