A probationer accused of hitting her sister over the head with a mallet and trying to run over her mother with a car must stand trial on attempted murder and other charges, a judge ruled Friday.
Erin Leah Richey, 41, of Palm Desert is charged with two counts of attempted murder and vehicle theft stemming from the alleged Dec. 15, 2018, attack in the 77500 block of Mountain View Avenue, along with other charges related to separate alleged crimes.
Richey was previously found mentally competent to stand trial in the case, and has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity.
She faces multiple life sentences if convicted as charged, according to John Hall, a spokesman for the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office.
During a preliminary hearing Friday at the Larson Justice Center in Indio, Superior Court Judge Arjuna T. Saraydarian found prosecutors presented sufficient evidence to warrant a trial on all the charges in the case.
Richey is also charged with arson and assault with a deadly weapon in connection with a third attack reported two days earlier in the 77330 block of Missouri Drive in Palm Desert, where she allegedly set fire to a carport, causing another woman to suffer burns. The alleged victim testified Friday that she had never met the defendant.
Richey is additionally charged with two counts of animal cruelty — one for allegedly setting her cat, Mabel, on fire, and another for allegedly spraying ant and roach killer into her mother’s dog’s eyes before throwing the dog over an eight-foot wall.
According to the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department, she struck her sister on the head with a mallet “numerous times” and also attempted to slash her with a knife. She then took one of the victim’s vehicles and as she was speeding away, attempted to run over her mother, who owned the property in which she was living inside a trailer.
The sister struck by the mallet was hospitalized with non-life-threatening head injuries, according to the sheriff’s department. Richey was arrested on the day of the alleged attack on Avenida Caballeros in Palm Springs.
Richey remains in custody on $2 million bail and is scheduled to return to court on Aug. 28 for a post-preliminary hearing arraignment.
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