Psychiatrist: Hendricks was insane when husband was killed

13 Jul

A psychiatrist who evaluated Gwen Hendricks says she was

Posted Wednesday, February 28, 2001 12:00 am
insane at the time of her husband’s 1991 murder, detailed a report heard Monday in Douglas County District Court.
By: Terri Moon Cronk

A psychiatrist who evaluated Gwen Hendricks says she was
insane at the time of her husband’s 1991 murder, detailed a report heard Monday in Douglas County District Court.

Hendricks was convicted of first-degree murder in 1993 and was sentenced to life, confined in a Department of Corrections facility. She has been imprisoned for 10 years.
The state supreme court in September overturned Hendricks’ conviction because the judge in the case reportedly did not accept the plea Hendricks wanted to enter.

The higher court’s chief justice said the Douglas County District Court judge did not take Hendricks’ mental state into consideration when the crime was committed.

Because of the overturned conviction, Hendricks recently entered a new plea in county district court of innocent by reason of insanity.

She still is charged with first-degree murder, but not convicted, and remains on a no-bond hold.

She was court-ordered in late November to undergo the psychiatric evaluation.

U.S. Air Force Sgt. James Hendricks, who was stationed at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs, was found dead in his pickup truck in Franktown in August 1991.

Gwen Hendricks called police to report him missing. Air Force and Douglas County Sheriff’s investigators found James Hendricks’ body and his truck approximately 10 miles south of Franktown. The wife was arrested shortly afterward.

Attorneys for both Hendricks and the 18th Judicial District Attorney’s office say that by state law, the district attorney can ask for a second psychiatric opinion.

Michael Knight, spokesman for the 18th Judicial District, said the district attorney will “weigh the options” during the next 30 days before proceeding. “We will look at the merits of the case,” he said. “Our options are narrowed a bit,” he said, adding that the district attorney’s office hasn’t yet reviewed the psychiatric report.

Monday, District Court Judge Thomas Curry sent Hendricks back to the Colorado Mental Health Institute until her next hearing March 26.

Reports in the Douglas County News-Press during her trial said she told investigators she’d had “premonitions” of her husband dying in a plane crash and had taken out a $1 million insurance policy on him.

She also said she’d bought a dress for his funeral.

Unlike court procedures used today, Hendricks will undergo trial for first-degree murder in two phases as she did 10 years ago: The first is the sanity phase, and the second will determine her guilt or innocence in the case.,95209

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