Tue 10 August, 2004 20:19
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The woman accused of making death threats against actress Catherine Zeta-Jones is to be examined by a psychiatrist to determine whether she is fit to stand trial, a Los Angeles judge has ruled.
Criminal proceedings were suspended in July after Dawnette Knight, 32, took a barbiturate overdose in her jail cell and her lawyer accused Zeta-Jones of driving Knight to attempt suicide.
Knight, who is said to be obsessed with Zeta-Jones's husband Michael Douglas, faces a 25-count charge of stalking the actress through threatening letters and phone calls over an 18-month period.
The letter writer threatened to "slice her up like meat on the bone" and said the actress would be "shredded to pieces like Sharon Tate."
Her lawyer, Richard Herman, had previously insisted Knight was a "normal young woman" with no mental problems and said she had written a letter of apology to Zeta-Jones and Douglas.
But after the two Hollywood stars delivered chilling testimony at a preliminary hearing in July, Herman told reporters that "what's actually happened is that Catherine Zeta-Jones has driven Dawnette to attempt suicide and the real blood is on her hands."
A Los Angeles judge said the psychiatrist appointed on Tuesday should file a report by September 15 on whether Knight is competent to stand trial. Knight is in jail in lieu of $1 million bail.