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Callaway County woman makes insanity plea in murder case

Lola Crews


A Callaway County woman is now in a state mental hospital after pleading not guilty by reason of insanity in a 2020 murder case.

Callaway County prosecutor Chris Wilson said Lola Crews made the plea on April 26 and effectively ends the case. Wilson said that two mental evaluations found that Crews had schizoaffective disorder, and was incapable of understanding the case against her.

Investigators suspected Crews had killed her mother, Frances Keel, at a home in the 8300 block of Broadway Street outside of New Bloomfield in January 2020. The Callaway County Sheriff's Office said Crews admitted to killing her mother, and that Crews' son told them she suffered from schizophrenia for several decades.

Wilson said Judge Joshua Devine accepted evaluations done by the state and defense of Crews' condition. Missouri law says a person cannot be held criminally responsible if, at the time the alleged crime happened, they suffered from a mental health condition that impairs their ability to understand what they did wrong.

The law does not limit how long a person might be committed to a Department of Mental Health facility.

"Given that Ms. Crews is 64 years of age, I would expect that she would remain in a DMH facility for most - perhaps all - of the rest of her life," Wilson said.

Crews' attorney Kathy Benson did not return a request for comment late Monday afternoon.

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Lucas Geisler

Lucas Geisler anchors the 5 p.m. show for ABC 17 News and reports on the latest news around mid-Missouri at 9 and 10 p.m.


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