The woman accused of killing her Pasco mother in a fight about $300 pleaded innocent to first-degree murder Friday in Franklin County Superior Court.
In addition, Judge Cameron Mitchell more than doubled the bail for Tashia L. Stuart, 38, saying there was information to indicate the death of her mother, Judy Hebert, might have been premeditated. Stuart is accused of fatally shooting her mother March 3 in her mother's home.
The judge set Stuart's bail at $500,000 after Prosecutor Shawn Sant asked that it be increased to $750,000. Bail had been set at $200,000 when Stuart was suspected of second-degree murder, but she has since been charged with first-degree murder, Sant said.
There's a substantial difference in the thought process behind a crime committed in passion and one that is premeditated, which could pose more danger to the community, Mitchell said.
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Last week, the prosecution added more information to court documents, saying that Stuart's 7-year-old daughter was in her bedroom March 3 when Stuart came in and told her to turn up the volume on the television. The daughter heard three loud bangs shortly afterward, according to prosecutors.
Stuart, her husband and their 7-year-old daughter had been living with her mother in Hebert's 7907 Salmon Drive home since January.
Stuart's attorneys opposed the bail increase, saying she had no criminal history. But because she is indigent, the bail amount likely is moot, said defense attorney Bob Thompson.
Stuart walked into court shackled and hunched over, clutching her arms in front of her.
She has been in pain from migraines, said defense attorney Matt Rutt, who repeated his request from last week that she be granted a four-hour furlough from Franklin County jail to see an emergency room doctor.
She has been unable to eat or sleep because of the migraines, but the jail nurse has not given her prescribed medicine, he said.
"My client has practically been in tears over the pain," he said.
Stuart has full health care coverage through the Veterans Administration, so expense to the county was not a valid reason not to send her to see an emergency room doctor, Rutt said.
A doctor had seen her in jail for a few minutes after attorneys first made the furlough request, but the doctor had not given Stuart a diagnosis that she understood nor any medication, Rutt said.
After the judge learned none of the attorneys had talked to the doctor, he stopped the hearing until the jail nurse, Connie Rode, could be called to the courtroom to discuss the status of Stuart's medication.
The jail provides inmates medication when they have a valid prescription, Rode said, but she indicated the jail did not have a prescription for migraine medicine for Stuart.
The prescription either is in the house where Stuart lived with her mother or has been seized, Rutt said. The defense team has not been allowed in the house, he said.
The prescription might be available from her doctor or her drug store, attorneys said.
If a valid prescription is found, the medication will be provided to her, the judge said. He then said he would readdress the request for a furlough to take her to an emergency room, he said.
Stuart's trial is scheduled for May 18.
According to search warrants filed in the case, Stuart had been arguing with her mother about money that had been taken from her mother's account without her permission. Stuart claims her mother came at her with an ax, and she responded by firing several shots from a gun.
Her lawyers have said it might be a self-defense case.
Evidence seized in the investigation included a .357-caliber handgun, a hatchet from the master bedroom floor near where Hebert was found and bullet fragments around the house, court documents showed.
Rolfe Hebert, the victim's ex-husband, has told officers that in the weeks before the shooting, Stuart had called asking for the combination to a safe to get her mother's last will and testament and do-not-resuscitate paperwork. Stuart had told her dad that her mother informed her "everything in the safe was hers if she died," according to court documents.
Hebert said his former wife was keeping notes on what Stuart was doing and suspected she was swapping her mother's medications for treating a recent injury, the documents said.
The charges against Stuart include aggravating circumstances of deliberate cruelty to the victim; domestic violence within the sight or sound of a child; an egregious lack of remorse by Stuart; and the destructive and foreseeable impact the offense had on persons other than the victim.