PASCO — A 38-year-old woman accused of killing her Pasco mother in a fight over $300 will return to court next week to enter a plea.
Tashia L. Stuart appeared Tuesday in Franklin County Superior Court.
She had been set for arraignment on one count of first-degree murder with a firearm enhancement. But because the case now is assigned to Judge Cameron Mitchell and he was off for the day, the defense asked to delay the hearing until he is available.
Prosecutor Shawn Sant gave the court a few potential dates as provided by court administration.
Judge Vic VanderSchoor, who was presiding over the criminal docket, tentatively set the next hearing for March 25 before Mitchell.
Meanwhile, defense lawyers Matt Rutt and Bob Thompson asked that their client be granted a four-hour furlough from the Franklin County jail so she can seek medical treatment at Lourdes Medical Center in Pasco. Stuart has migraines and other issues that need attention, Rutt said.
Sant told the court he had been advised that a doctor was scheduled to be in the jail today. Because nothing from the defense suggested immediacy, Sant asked that the court hold off deciding whether to temporarily release Stuart for treatment until she has seen that doctor.
VanderSchoor agreed they should wait until after the initial jail visit. Stuart is in custody on $200,000 bail.
Prosecutors allege Stuart fatally shot her mom, Judy Hebert, on March 3.
Stuart, her husband and their 7-year-old daughter had been living with Hebert in her 7907 Salmon Drive home since January.
According to search warrants filed in the murder case, Stuart had been arguing with her mother about the money that had been taken from Hebert's account without her consent. She claims her mother came at her with an ax and that's when she responded with several shots from a gun.
Her lawyers have said it might be a self-defense case.
Stuart's daughter was home at the time of the incident, and reportedly told a child interviewer she heard three shots fired after being told to go into the garage. She came back into the house to find her "Nana" on the floor with a black gun and a case next to the woman.
Pasco police responded to the home after dispatchers received a 911 hang-up call at 2:24 p.m. Officer Kevin Erickson, upon learning from a neighbor that gunshots had come from inside the home, told Stuart he needed to check things out.
Evidence seized in the investigation included a .357-caliber gun from the living room, a hatchet from the master bedroom floor near where Hebert was found and bullet fragments around the house, court documents showed. Police also took personal documents and notes kept by Hebert.
Rolfe Hebert, the victim's ex-husband, told officers that in the weeks before the shooting, Stuart had called her father asking for the combination to a safe to get her mother's last will and testament and do-not-resuscitate paperwork. Stuart had told her dad that her mother informed her "everything in the safe was hers if she died," Hebert said, according to court documents.
Hebert said his former wife also had suspected their daughter of swapping her medications after a recent injury, and was keeping notes on what Stuart was doing, the documents said.
Judy Hebert's official cause of death was a single gunshot wound to the chest.
The charges against Stuart include aggravating circumstances of deliberate cruelty to the victim; domestic violence within the sight or sound of a child; an egregious lack of remorse by Stuart; and the destructive and foreseeable impact the offense had on persons other than the victim.