BANGOR, Maine — A local woman accused of brutally slaying her husband in the couple’s bathtub nearly two years ago pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity and waived her right to a jury trial during a hearing Friday at the Penobscot Judicial Center.
Roxanne Jeskey, 49, of Bangor in September 2011 pleaded not guilty to intentional or knowing murder and depraved indifference murder in the death of her husband, Richard Jeskey, 53, in their Ohio Street apartment. His naked and bloody body was found June 13, 2011. He was beaten and strangled, according to autopsy results.
Also on Friday, Superior Court Justice Ann Murray, who earlier this month found Jeskey competent to stand trial, granted a defense motion and recused herself from the case. A new judge has not yet been appointed.
Defense attorney David Bate said after the hour-long hearing that the motion asking Murray to step aside from the case was “rare.”
“In her competency order, the judge concluded that Ms. Jeskey was malingering [in some of Jeskey’s dealings with psychologists for the state],” Bate said. “I think Ms. Jeskey is entitled to have a factfinder who has not prejudged her credibility.”
Robert Riley, a clinical neuropsychologist in Augusta, testified at Jeskey’s four-day competency hearing in April that when he administered tests to the defendant, she was malingering or faking symptoms of mental illness.
Assistant Attorney General Leane Zainea, who is prosecuting the case, declined Friday to comment on what happened at the hearing or the judge’s recusal.
It is the practice of the Maine attorney general’s office not to comment on pending cases.
Murray said that it would be up to a new judge to determine if the trial goes forward on June 24 as scheduled. Bate and co-counsel Joseph Baldacci had filed a motion asking that it be continued.
Although Murray ordered that Jeskey be moved to Riverview Psychiatric Center in Augusta “for psychiatric observation, evaluation and ongoing assessment of competency pending trial,” she remains at the Penobscot County Jail, according to Baldacci. He said that there is no bed for her there.
If Jeskey were found guilty of murder, she would face between 25 years and life in prison. If she were found not guilty by reason of insanity, she could be committed to Riverview indefinitely until she was determined not to be a threat to the community.