Woman Accused of Shooting Nurse to Stand Trial

CLEARFIELD – A woman accused of shooting her nurse during a routine visit on Dec. 6, 2012 had all charges held for court by Magisterial District Judge Jerome Nevling after a preliminary hearing Wednesday at the Clearfield County Jail.

Marlene W. Kenjora, 70, of Osceola Mills has been charged with criminal attempt/criminal homicide; aggravated assault; discharge of a firearm into an occupied structure; recklessly endangering another person; and simple assault. She’s currently incarcerated at the CCJ in lieu of $1 million bail.

Clearfield County District Attorney William A. Shaw Jr. presented the case on behalf of the commonwealth. Defense attorney James Joseph Walsh, Esq. of Pittsburgh represented Kenjora.

The victim, a registered nurse, took the stand first and gave a tearful testimony of her visit with Kenjora on the date in question. On Dec. 6, 2012, Kenjora was her last patient at approximately 3 p.m. At the time, Kenjora had just been released from a psychiatric facility, and she wanted to refill Kenjora’s pill box.

When she started to handle the medications, the victim said that Kenjora became very upset and started to call her names. After trying to reach Kenjora’s daughter, the victim tried to reason with Kenjora, who continued to yell at her. The victim subsequently called the Clearfield/Jefferson County Mobile Crisis hotline for assistance.

The victim testified that while she was on the phone with mobile crisis personnel, Kenjora went upstairs. Shortly after she ran back downstairs, which the victim said, was unlike Kenjora, who struggles with her mobility.

“The next thing I know, my head felt wet. I thought maybe I was sweating,” she said. “I reached up and dabbed the left side of my head and observed blood [on my hand].”

At that point, she said Kenjora was standing approximately 6 feet away and holding a small handgun. Because she feared being shot again, she fled and drove to a neighbor’s residence down the road.

There, the victim told a teen-aged girl that she’d been shot by Kenjora, and the teen called 9-1-1. The teen sent her sister to find their mother who was a nurse and who later applied pressure and bandaged the wound.

When emergency personnel arrived, the victim said she was transported to a trauma unit in Altoona. She had emergency surgery to remove a bullet fragment from her skull. The victim was subsequently hospitalized for two nights and upon release she was prescribed seizure and pain medications. The victim also had follow-up medical appointments with a neurosurgeon and has sought counseling.

Under cross-examination, the victim testified that she’d visited Kenjora on Nov. 21, 2012. That day, she contacted mobile crisis personnel, as Kenjora wasn’t eating well and smelled of urine. The victim described Kenjora as being irate during her visit.

Kenjora, she said, was voluntarily committed that day until Dec. 3, 2012. She then visited Kenjora on the date in question and described her as being “hyper-verbal,” “ramped up” and “animated” with “manic behavior.” She admitted that Kenjora’s behavior appeared to be worse than it was on Nov. 21, 2012.

During the time she treated her, the victim said Kenjora would have days where she was fine and some where she was a “little bitter.” She said Kenjora’s medication changes may have caused her behavior on the day of the shooting incident; however, she wouldn’t say the shooting wouldn’t have occurred if Kenjora’s medications hadn’t been changed.

Officer James Ward of the Decatur Township police was on his way into the station on Dec. 6, 2012 when Chief Timothy O’Leary called him. He was directed to respond to a staging area on Ashland Road near Kenjora’s residence. Kenjora, he said, was still inside and police surrounded her residence.

Ward said that Kenjora voluntarily exited the residence and was taken into custody without incident. Twice that night, he said Kenjora spontaneously admitted, “I shot her. I did it. I’m sorry. I snapped.”

At 4:15 p.m. Dec. 6, 2012, O’Leary said he was dispatched to Morgan Run Road for a shooting victim. Upon arrival a resident was assisting the victim who he said was “very alert and coherent.” He contacted dispatch for further backup to surround Kenjora’s residence.

O’Leary said he contacted Kenjora by phone and asked her to exit the residence, which she did. Later that night, he interviewed her at which point she said, “I’m sorry I shot her but I snapped. I didn’t mean to hurt her, but I snapped.”

In his closing, Walsh requested for Nevling to modify Kenjora’s bail, so she could seek further psychiatric treatment. Kenjora, he said, wasn’t handling the CCJ very well. Walsh wanted her to see the same doctors who had been treating her for the past 13 months.

Shaw told the judge he would allow “the testimony to speak for itself.” So far as the bail request, he pointed out Kenjora was at the last psychiatric facility under a court order for the purposes of an evaluation. Because she’s now incarcerated at the CCJ, Shaw said it would be the warden’s responsibility to have her transported to a facility if she’s determined to be a danger to herself or to others.

Nevling believed the commonwealth had established sufficient evidence to send the case to a jury. He said although he has the ability to modify bail at the preliminary hearing, he thought it would be best for the defense to address it in a motion to the Court of Common Pleas.

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