The psychiatric review of a 39-year-old Aptos mother accused of killing her young daughter in a Watsonville motel room in November 2008 is not complete, attorneys reported at Veva Virgil's court appearance Thursday.
Virgil has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to one count of murder and one count of assault on a child causing death for allegedly smothering 3½-year-old Isabella Grace Martinez.
The court-ordered mental health evaluation was commissioned in March of last year. To date, Dr. Jeff Gould has reviewed the "voluminous" case file, interviewed Virgil and spoken with several other people involved in her life, according to Assistant District Attorney Ross Taylor, who is prosecuting the case.
Virgil was arrested by at a San Jose hospital hours after a maid found her daughter’s body under a bed sheet in a room at the on Silverleaf Drive. She told medical staff at the hospital that she sent her daughter to heaven and wanted to be euthanized, according to testimony heard during her preliminary hearing.
Virgil has a history of mental illness, according to her supporters and her court-appointed attorney, Maya Nordberg.
In court Thursday, Virgil sat in the far corner of the jury box, dressed in jail-issue red clothes. She shielded her face with her long, brunette hair. She spoke quietly with her attorney.
At issue is if Virgil was sane when she allegedly killed Isabella. Her competency to stand trial—whether she can aid in her own defense—must also be decided.
Outside of court, Taylor said the information he's reviewed "appear to support the conclusion that she was sane."
In court, Nordberg stated the defense may seek another medical review, depending on the outcome of Gould's evaluation. Gould, as a court-appointed examiner, is supposed to deliver a neutral report. Either the defense or the prosecution could later hire another expert witness for a second evaluation.
Judge Paul Burdick told both attorneys to help Gould contact any other witnesses he needs to interview so the report could be expedited.
Virgil will return to court April 5, at which time Gould's report is expected to be presented.