A 45-year-old Copper Hill woman who took a pickup with farm use tags from a farmer’s field in Floyd County pleaded not guilty for reason of insanity in Circuit Court Tuesday.
Examinations by mental health officials, the prosecution and the defense found Lavern Denise Beaver incompetent to stand trial because of insanity and recommended she be committed to a facility for evaluation and treatment.
Following her plea, Beaver was sent to New River Regional Jail in Dublin to await transfer to a state mental facility for evaluation.
Commonwealth’s Attorney Eric Branscom told Circuit Judge Mike Fleenor on Nov. 15 that he felt the concurring diagnosis by two doctors were sufficient for a deal to send her to the state Mental Facility at Marion or the Central State Facility.
Branscom said Beaver took the pickup in April to try to get away from those who she felt were “tracking her.” She mentioned the CIA, Branscom said.
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Beaver returned the vehicle to Floyd County after spending a few hours in Myrtle Beach, S.C., and used a gas credit card on the trip.
She did not realize she had “done anything wrong,” Branscom said.
Branscom also noted that Beaver drove the pickup, with farm use tags, in three states and back without being stopped or challenged in any of the jurisdictions.
He said Beaver’s stay in a mental health facility could be “a few weeks or many months” before any recommendations might be resubmitted to the court.
Beaver’s impairments were among the reasons to not charge her for use of the credit card and other happenings regarding the incident, Branscom said.
The case was delayed several times, Branscom said, because the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We hope she gets the treatment and help she needs,” he said.
The plea and hearing came at the end of a day of continuances, postponements and new dates, partly due to a mix of winter weather.
In some of the other cases heard Nov. 15:
A plea agreement for Dayna Lynette Taylor of Westfield, N.C., on two charges of assault on law enforcement officers was continued.
Judge Fleenor entered a capias for the arrest of Michael Dean Davis of Check after he failed to appear for a probation violation hearing.
The judge set Feb. 7, 2023, to review a deferred disposition on a 2021 plea in drug case against Landon Lee Dalton of Willis.