Utica double murder suspect enrolled in 'Mental Health Court' at time of killings

Prosecutors say a double murder suspect was attending weekly appointments at Mental Health ourt in Utica (Courtesy: Utica Police Dept.).

The Utica man accused of killing his grandmother and another elderly woman was making weekly appearances in the city's "Mental Health Court" at the time of their deaths.

"If you're successfull in the end it could lead to a dismissal, it could lead to just a suspended sentence, it could lead to a reduction of the charge, it's different in every single case," said Oneida County Assistant District Attorney Rebecca Kelleher.

Mental Health court is made up of a team that works to hold people like Naythen Aubain accountable after they've been charged with a misdemeanor.

Right now in Oneida County 37 people are participating.

Court records show Naythen Aubain showed up for all of his weekly, required court appearances-which are every Tuesday.

But now, he's back behind bars.

"We never can predict how someone is going to participate but we hope that if they're entering into it and they're acknowledging why they're there, that there is something that we can work towards with them," said Kelleher.

Aubain, 29, is accused of killing and mutilating his grandmother, Katerine Aubain, 90, and their landlord, Jane Wentka, 87.

In February 2018, police say Aubain tried to strangle his grandmother.

“He grabbed me by my throat with both hands and squeezed preventing me from being able to breathe," she told investigators in a statement.

Instead of serving jail time, Aubain was referred to Utica's "Mental Health Court" in March and pleaded guilty in April, according to an assistant district attorney. The "sentences" in the court last nine months to a year, and they required Aubain to attend weekly court dates as well as use resources provided by the court.

Court records show Aubain was showing up to every weekly appointment, which are held on Tuesdays.

He is now charged with two counts of First Degree Murder for the deaths of Wentka and his grandmother. Wentka's body was discovered Sunday night after police say Aubain crashed his car and told first responders he had just killed someone.

That led to the discovery of Wentka's body. Katerine Aubain was missing, and police launched a search. Her remains were found in Claville on Monday.

A judge ordered psychological evaluation for Aubain Wednesday, when he was deemed "unfit" to appear in court. At his arraignment Tuesday night, Aubain was brought in wearing a spit shield and was forced into a restraining chair during the court proceedings.

He interrupted the judge several times, saying:

I did it. I chopped her up.
I’ll chop anyone up who disrespects Jesus Christ.

SEE ALSO| 'I chopped her up': Man charged with murdering grandmother, landlord

According to the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision, Aubain previously served five years in prison, from 2008 to 2013 for robbery, and while in prison, he was convicted of promoting prison contraband for possessing metal weapons. He is currently on parole until 2020.

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