LAS VEGAS (AP) — A defense lawyer aired concerns Monday about the mental state of his client, who faces multiple felony charges in a deadly crime spree that included a carjacking, two home invasions and a stabbing before police arrested her and fatally wounded her alleged accomplice.
Natasha Galenn Jackson’s cryptic answer to a judge’s question about whether she understood the charges against her prompted her appointed deputy public defender, Danny Silverstein, to say outside court that Jackson was treated in the past for mental illness.
Clark County District Court Judge Jessie Walsh asked Jackson at Monday’s hearing if she read and wrote the English language.
Jackson responded: “Today, yes.”
Silverstein didn’t specify his client’s mental illness, and said he hadn’t seen her medical records. He said Jackson, 35, told him she didn’t remember a previous court appearance following her July 28 arrest in Las Vegas.
Silverstein called it too early in the case to say how Jackson’s mental state might affect her defense.
Jackson pleaded not guilty Monday to eight charges, including murder, kidnapping, robbery and burglary with weapon enhancements.
She could get life in prison if convicted of the most serious charges, stemming from the home break-in and shooting death of Richard Ramos and the screwdriver stabbing of Ramos’ wife, Julie Ramos.
Walsh set a March 9 trial date.
Jackson has been held without bail at the Clark County jail since her arrest by officers who shot at Cody David Winters after he appeared to hold her hostage as they exited a home. Police said the two were accomplices.
Winters, 27, retreated back inside the house, where police say he shot and critically wounded another woman before he was killed.
Police said the crime spree began when Winters and Jackson, armed with a gun and a knife, carjacked a highway service vehicle after the driver stopped to help them on the side of a freeway. They then drove to a residential neighborhood and forced their way into the Ramos’ home.
Jackson told police that she and Winters wanted to steal a car from the family, but Richard Ramos tried to grab the gun from Winters’ hands. Jackson told police she stabbed Julie Ramos with a screwdriver.
Winters and Jackson allegedly scaled backyard walls and tried to enter two other nearby homes before breaking into the house where police arrived. Officers arrested Jackson and wounded Winters after he tried to shield himself with the woman he allegedly shot.
Winters, a convicted felon from Idaho who went by the nickname “Havoc,” died later at a hospital.
Prosecutor Pamela Weckerly said the woman who was shot remained hospitalized Monday in critical condition.
Silverstein said Jackson previously lived in New Hampshire. He said he didn’t know when Winters and Jackson arrived in Las Vegas.