GantDaily: Kenjora Found Guilty of Shooting Nurse

CLEARFIELD, Pa. (GANTDAILY.COM) – Jurors deliberated for nearly three hours Tuesday afternoon before finding an Osceola Mills woman guilty of shooting her home care nurse in the head on Dec. 6, 2012.

Marlene Kenjora, 71, of Osceola Mills was found guilty of criminal attempt/murder of the first degree; two counts each of aggravated assault and simple assault; and recklessly endangering another person.

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Clearfield County District Attorney William A. Shaw Jr. presented the case on behalf of the commonwealth. Kenjora was represented by defense attorney Ron Collins of Clearfield. President Judge Fredric J. Ammerman presided over the case.

Jurors had two requests during deliberations, which were at 2:38 p.m. and 4:33 p.m. In both instances, jurors asked Ammerman to review the elements for criminal attempt/murder of the first degree, which he did. Jurors then returned with a verdict at approximately 4:53 p.m.

Kenjora’s sentence will be up to the judge, said Shaw, adding he trusts the court to “fashion a sentence that’s appropriate for the circumstances.” Shaw declined to further comment on the possible length of Kenjora’s sentence, as well as on the type of institution she will be sent to.

The case, Shaw said, was difficult to prosecute because it introduced an unusual dynamic, an elderly woman accused of criminal attempt/murder of the first degree. He “respected” the jury for making a difficult decision and he was satisfied that justice was served for the victim.

“It was a tough case,” he said, “but I have a duty, the police have a duty and the jury has a duty.” He felt jurors deliberated at length because the criminal attempt/murder charge was a “larger pill to swallow” and they wanted to be sure with their verdict.

“I think they gave it a fair shake,” said Shaw.

When the trial resumed Tuesday morning, Kenjora indicated to the court that she’d decided not to testify in her own defense. Collins proceeded by calling Bonnie Kephart, who is Kenjora’s friend, and Rosalie Winters, who is Kenjora’s sister.

Kephart said she helped Kenjora pack her suitcase, as she was being voluntarily committed to a psychiatric unit in Brookville. She said at that time in 2012, Kenjora was “having a lot of problems.”

After Kenjora was released from the hospital, Kephart said she received a telephone call from Kenjora at 3 a.m. She said Kenjora was crying and upset over her medications not being right. Kephart said she told Kenjora to stop worrying over her medications and to go to bed.

According to Kephart, Kenjora appeared to be in a “terrible state” and named off a list of medications she was supposed to be on. She said Kenjora told her she’d taken medications with her to the hospital, which weren’t sent home with her. She also mentioned changes in her medications while she was at the hospital.

Winters said she had telephone conversations with Kenjora after her release from the hospital. She said she was surprised Kenjora had been released so soon, as she didn’t appear to be any better. Winters described Kenjora as being in a panic and desperate when she talked to her before the shooting incident.

Under cross examination, she admitted that she neither contacted emergency services nor police about Kenjora’s welfare. Instead, she kept trying to call Kenjora, who didn’t answer. Kenjora, she said, preferred to be in her home but wanted to get help.

When asked by Shaw, Winters agreed that Kenjora was “smart enough” to seek help for her mental health problems.

During his closing, Collins argued that the case wasn’t about “what happened” with the evidence clearly showing that Kenjora shot the victim in the head. However, he said it was more important for jurors to consider the state of Kenjora’s mind on Dec. 6, 2012.

Collins said Kenjora was administered her medications and stabilized during her voluntary commitment from Nov. 22 – Dec. 3 of 2012 at the Brookville psychiatric unit. However, he said something happened with Kenjora’s medications after her release, and everyone, including the victim, testified she wasn’t the same person.

Collins closed by saying that Kenjora wasn’t able to form a specific intent to kill due to her state of mind. Kenjora, he said, shot the victim while acting out during a manic episode.

Shaw countered by asking jurors why someone would fire a gun at someone’s head if they didn’t intend to kill them. He argued that Kenjora had motive because the victim had contacted Mobile Crisis about getting her more help.

“Marlene didn’t want to go back to the hospital,” he said. “She wanted none of that . . . so she marched upstairs to get a gun. And, what did she do? She came back downstairs and shot the victim in the head.”

Shaw also called jurors’ attention to testimony from the Mobile Crisis worker who took the victim’s call. When the victim advised she’d been shot, the worker overheard Kenjora say, “Damn right, I did it.”

Shaw said Kenjora wasn’t acting sorry or remorseful but was angry, vindictive and mean. He said Kenjora’s daughter tried to gain sympathy from jurors by showing a bag full of the various medications that Kenjora was required to take as part of her treatment for her bipolar disorder and other physical ailments.

“Because someone is bipolar doesn’t mean they can’t form the specific intent to kill,” he said. “And, it doesn’t excuse what she did.”

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