Catherine Hoggle set to appear in court later this week
ROCKVILLE, Md. - The Montgomery County mother charged in the murder of her two children back in 2014 has a court hearing this week, and some are concerned depending on the judge's ruling, she may eventually be let out without ever facing accountability.
In September 2014, Catherine Hoggle was the last person to see her two youngest children – then 3-year-old Sarah and 2-year-old Jacob. She also disappeared but was found and arrested on misdemeanor charges.
In 2017, a Montgomery County grand jury indicted Hoggle on murder charges, giving the courts until December 2022 to have her restored and found competent to stand trial. But reports since have all found her both a danger and incompetent to stand trial.
Her attorney, following state law, asked a judge decide once and for all.
The children’s father, Troy Turner, told FOX 5, "The problem is, the most protected person in this situation is Catherine Hoggle."
"And this isn’t a singular situation where it’s just her and she’s special and protected,'" he said. "It happens all too often in the state of Maryland."
He also said that his biggest fear has to do with a third person in the family if Hoggle is eventually released.
"The police believe that she was coming back for a third," Turner said. "The fact that she’s going to be out in general. No one’s going to necessarily know what she’s doing. Where she’s showing up."
READ MORE: Hoggle Case: Father outraged over potential dismissal of charges against mother
Turner has long-argued Catherine Hoggle is "gaming" the system based on calls to him and other matters.
The Montgomery County States Attorney’s Office told FOX 5 the Clifton T. Perkins Hospital Center, where Hoggle has been receiving treatment since her arrest, gives the court reports on her status about every six months and that Hoggle has continuously been found incompetent to stand trial. She has also been found to be a danger to the public.
On Monday, Hoggle’s attorney, David Felsen told FOX 5 over the phone, "Doctors have determined it for the last seven or eight years, so I don’t know. I mean I understand that people might be upset, but I think it’s from a lack of understand from the procedures and the law in this case. We don’t try people who can’t defend themselves in criminal cases."
Felsen explained to FOX 5 that in following the law, he requested the upcoming hearing, where the most recent judge on this case is expected to give a determination on whether or not the court finds Hoggle can be restored.
States Attorney John McCarthy told FOX 5 the judge may also make a decision on whether to drop charges against Hoggle, which would change her commitment at the Clifton T. Perkins Hospital from a criminal to a civil commitment.
Turner and his attorney tell FOX 5 they’ve seen Catherine Hoggle get out of a civil commitment before.
"The main thing is just that Sarah and Jacob are being forgotten almost with this," he said. "In the system, they’re not mentioned in the courtroom. It’s ‘The State v. Catherine Hoggle’. They’re not here. We don’t have them. They’re not home to be taken care of. And like we’ve been saying for the last 6 years, whatever their condition, they deserve to come home. They should be here with us … the fact that the charges could be dropped under circumstances where she had made statements, she has done things where is clearly competent and she can easily, just you know, wants a civil commitment – she’s beaten a civil commitment many times."
States Attorney McCarthy said on Monday, "There’s always the possibility that if there were a change of circumstances, her condition improved, we could come back, reinstitute the charges again. So the issue of whether or not she will ever be ultimately held account and tried for the crimes for which she is alleged to have occurred, only time is going to tell the answer to that question."
McCarthy tells FOX 5 that his office has done all they can under the law to try and get this matter to trial. He also told FOX 5 he believes in some cases, maybe there should be exemptions to the 5-year hold for someone facing this type of felony and found incompetent to stand trial.
Turner tried twice to work with Maryland legislators in a proposed bill (2019 MD SB 242/HB 743) to get the law changed so that someone connected to a certain felony and found incompetent to stand trial, like in the case of Catherine Hoggle, could be held up to 10 years for potential restoration instead of 5. Turner and his attorneys said it’s something they learned was an unintentional consequence of Maryland doing away with the death penalty.