MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Md. (FOX 5 DC) - There’s outrage tonight from the father of two young children missing from Montgomery County for more than five years.
The children’s mother – Catherine Hoggle – is seeking to have murder charges against her dismissed, citing Maryland law.
For more than five years now, Catherine Hoggle has been unable to face the charges against her in court.
State doctors have repeatedly found Hoggle to be mentally incompetent to stand trial.
Because of her condition, there’s a real chance she may one day be set free.
“Forget everything else. You have a woman who murdered two children and you’re just going to let her walk without a trial even?” The children’s father, Troy Turner, said.
Troy Turner says he’s mostly concerned for the safety of the oldest of his three children with Catherine Hoggle. At the moment, she’s facing two felony murder charges in the disappearance of the couple’s two younger children, Sarah and Jacob.
“This is the situation: You know you have an 11-year-old at home who has nightmares about his mother showing up with a backpack with his dead sister and brother in it and looking for him. You have a third child that she didn’t get who’s in danger do you want to give her another chance at him?” Turner said.
“In the circumstance where a person is charged with a felony or a crime of violence – whether or not it’s a felony – the deadline is five years if the person has been incompetent for five years and the statute says the court shall dismiss the charges,” said David Felsen, Catherine Hoggle’s attorney.
Felsen has filed a motion to have the murder charges dismissed.
He cites a Maryland law that limits the amount of time defendants can be held in custody if they’re found incompetent to stand trial.
Felsen says case law has determined that the clock starts to run as soon as the defendant is first found to be incompetent – which was five years ago this week.
Turner believes the mother of his children is manipulating the system in hopes of escaping prison.
“I don’t doubt that she has mental illness. I know that. But as far as her being competent to stand trial – it’s been manipulating the system and the people around her,” he said.
Felsen acknowledged that Hoggle is dangerous in his filing – and he says even if the murder charge is dismissed, it doesn’t mean she will automatically walk free.
“There are several different ways it could go – one of them is that she could be released, but do I think that would happen. I don’t believe that’s likely upon the ruling in this motion. Might be down the road, might not be down the road, but the issue of release is not really before the court,” Felsen said.
The judge overseeing this case, Robert Greenberg, will not comment about when he might rule on the motion to dismiss the murder charges. Hoggle is due here in court for a status update on Feb. 18.