San Diego youth, Heather D’Aoust, suffers from mental illness.
But her mental illness will not amount to an insanity defense.
In December, D’Aoust pleaded guilty to the second degree murder of her adoptive mother, Rebecca D’Aoust, 56. Earlier this week, she was sentenced to a jail term of 16 years to life. In 2008, the San Diego area teen allegedly bludgeoned her mother to death with a hammer. Rebecca’s husband and 21 year old daughter were also in the house and awoke to muffled screams before calling the police.
Despite the vicious crime and the fact that Heather killed his wife, James D’Aoust, Heather’s adoptive father, stood by his adoptive daughter’s side, saying that that Heather was “not evil”.
Heather D’Aoust will not be eligible for parole for 16 years. That’s a long time in prison for juvenile crime. But D’Aoust was not tried as a juvenile.
Heather’s San Diego criminal defense attorney claimed that Heather had a history of mental illness, which she inherited from her birth parents. This illness, her San Diego criminal defense attorney claimed, necessitated that she be tried in the Juvenile Court system, “where she can be helped”. Heather D’Aoust suffers from bi-polar disorder and the murder occurred a week after she had changed medications.
There exist several tests to determine whether the defendant can use the defense of insanity with Clermont criminal defense attorneys. California applies the M’Naughten test, a test that hinges largely on criminal defendant’s ability to discern between right and wrong.
The Judge in D’Aoust’s case admitted that Heather D’Aoust suffered from mental illness, but that the mental illness did not amount to a defense in her particular case.
And so, Heather D’Aoust must wait 16 years before she has a chance at freedom again.