Mental State of Woman Accused of Killing Spouse Questioned

MURRIETA – With doubts raised about her mental health, a judge today ordered a psychiatric examination for a woman accused of fatally stabbing her husband during an altercation at their San Jacinto home.

Kendra Deone Smith, 54, was arrested Dec. 5 in connection with the killing of 64-year-old Matthew Smith. She is charged with murder and a sentence- enhancing weapon allegation.

Smith appeared today for arraignment before Riverside County Superior Court Judge Timothy Freer. But defense attorney Cheryl Thompson requested that Freer order a psychiatric evaluation of Smith because of concerns about her mental competency.

Freer vacated the arraignment and appointed two doctors to examine the defendant. A hearing on the doctors’ findings is set for Feb. 18. Smith remains in custody without bail at the Robert Presley Jail in Riverside.

According to sheriff’s Sgt. Jim Erickson, deputies were called around 3:20 a.m. Dec. 4 to the 300 block of East Seventh Street to investigate reports of a man down outside a mobile home.

Erickson said deputies found the victim lying in the street, seriously injured and unconscious. He died at Hemet Valley Medical Center less than an hour later.

”Further investigation revealed (Matthew) Smith had likely been involved in a violent physical altercation inside of his residence and then made his way onto the street,” the sergeant said.

He said several people were detained at the scene for questioning.

In the ensuing investigation, detectives identified Kendra Smith as the alleged assailant, according to sheriff’s officials. She was interviewed and booked the next day.

A knife was seized as evidence, according to the District Attorney’s Office.

Exactly what precipitated the violence was not disclosed.

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