Woman charged with murdering great-aunt incompetent to stand trial; Sent to state mental hospital

SAN DIEGO (CNS) – A woman accused of fatally shooting her 74-year-old
great-aunt in the victim's Tierrasanta home 11 days before Christmas is
mentally incompetent to stand trial and will be sent to a state mental hospital
for treatment, a judge ruled Monday.

Tiffany Nicole Burney, 23, is charged with murder in the death of Daisy
Mae Hayes.

After reviewing a doctor's report, Superior Court Judge Frederick
Maguire ruled that Burney was unable to understand the charges against her and
could not assist her attorney at trial.

Burney will stay at Patton State Hospital for up to three years, or
until her competency is restored. If criminal proceedings are reinstated and
the defendant is convicted, she faces 50 years to life in prison.

At Burney's arraignment last year, Deputy District Attorney Roy Lai
alleged the defendant shot her great-aunt four times in the face from close
range in the early morning hours of Dec. 14.

Lai said Hayes was at a hospital the previous day taking care of her
husband of 55 years, who was recovering from back surgery.

Burney was apparently let into the victim's home early the next morning,
because there were no signs of a struggle, the prosecutor said.

Burney fired five shots at her great-aunt, with four hitting the victim
in the face and head, according to Lai.

Hayes' body was found the night of Dec. 14 in the living room of her
Gabacho Drive home after relatives were unable to reach her and went to the
residence to check on her welfare.

Burney, the granddaughter of the victim's sister, was arrested three
days later in La Mesa.

The prosecutor said the defendant lived a transient lifestyle and police
had trouble locating her after the shooting.

Burney was an “angry, frustrated and unstable” individual who had
access to an unregistered revolver and used it to kill her great-aunt, he
alleged.

According to court records, Burney was the subject of two mental health
cases filed in 2010 and also filed a lawsuit against the county mental health
agency in August of that year.

Categories: KUSI