Middletown woman charged with killing sister considered competent

Sisters were involved in a physical fight before shooting, officials said.

A Middletown woman accused of shooting and killing her sister in December 2021 has been restored to competency and a September trial date has been set.

Monica Ann Pennington, 49, of 1607 Lafayette Ave., was charged with murder and felonious assault in the death of her sister, Pamela Pennington on Oct. 20, 2021. The 52-year-old woman was found dead in the living room of the residence after Monica called 911, according to Middletown police.

On Dec.. 2, Butler County Common Pleas Judge Keith Spaeth said, according to her psychological evaluation, Pennington was incompetent to stand trial. After receiving treatment, the judge on Thursday ruled Pennington competent to stand trial.

Defense attorney David Brewer also entered at not-guilty by reason of insanity plea on her behalf. Spaeth ordered Pennington undergo another psychological evaluation in light of that plea.

Incompetent to stand trial refers to a defendant’s ability to assist in their own defense and understand the charges against them at the time they are charged.

The insanity plea different and must be determined by jury or judge. It is a plea the claims a person was suffering from a mental defect at the time of the alleged crime and could not understand the wrongfulness of their actions.

Pennington is scheduled to be back in court for a pre-trial hearing on June 23 and her trial is set for Sept. 12.

At her arraignment, Assistant Butler County Prosecutor Dan Phillips said the sisters were involved in a physical fight, which was not uncommon in their lives, when Monica walked into her sister’s bedroom, grabbed her pistol, walked back to her sister and pointed it at her.

Phillips said it was supposed to be a murder-suicide, but Pennington did not go through with the suicide part.

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