Teresa Marie Henderson, the woman who admitted to stabbing her elderly mother in 2013, entered a nearly-empty courtroom in Napa Thursday morning for a placement hearing.
Henderson, who was deemed by a jury to have been “insane” at the time of the stabbing, will be treated at Napa State Hospital for a maximum of 15 years, according to her defense attorney Jess Raphael. On Thursday, the court determined that Henderson, who had 781 days of served-time credits, has fulfilled two years of that time already.
However, Henderson may not be in treatment the full 15 years, Raphael said.
“She is to be held only until it appears that her mental condition is such that she is no longer a danger,” he said. Henderson has a right to annual “restoration of sanity” trials. If she is deemed sane, Henderson is likely to have out-patient treatment even after she is out of the hospital, he said.
Raphael said he is optimistic about her treatment, but the District Attorney's Office can petition to extend her commitment every two years following the first 15, he said.
Henderson was first arrested in connection with the incident by Napa Police on Oct. 14, 2013.
Napa Police said Henderson, 41 at the time, stabbed her 75-year-old mother, Anne Louise Oldham, multiple times at the home they shared on the 3200 block of Von Uhlit Road in Napa.
Oldham had been watching television and talking to her son, Stephen, on the phone, according to documents. Henderson asked to speak to Stephen to wish her nephew a happy birthday. When her mother informed her that Stephen refused the request, Henderson went to her room and called her ex-husband in Illinois, Michael Glee.
Henderson explained how upset she was to Glee.
“She expressed her upset that her mother had done nothing to protect her as a child when her father molested her,” according to court documents. Henderson then told him that she “couldn’t deal with it anymore.”
Henderson also told Glee that her mother had asked her to move out. She said she was going to go slit her mother’s throat.
Raphael explained that Henderson had been molested by her father for seven years as a child – her father was even convicted of the crime in San Francisco when Henderson was 16-years-old. She was estranged from the family for nearly 20 years until her father was sick with cancer, he said, and Henderson came to Napa from Illinois to help care for him. Oldham knew about the molestation, but failed to protect Henderson as well as two other daughters, Raphael said.
Henderson was treated regularly for post-traumatic stress disorder and bipolar disorder, he added.
Not only did she feel alienated by the family, but earlier she watched an episode of Dr. Phil in which a mother was trying to protect her daughter from a child molester, Raphael said.
“And she snapped.”
After the call to Glee, Henderson grabbed a knife, went downstairs and called Glee again, according to court documents. He stayed on the line while Henderson told her mother “I’m going to kill you. I’ve been festering this anger all my life…”
She then cut Oldham’s throat three times.
Following the incident, Henderson called 911 and her mother underwent surgery at Queen of the Valley Medical Center for cuts to her neck, police had said.
“The blood is what brought her back to consciousness,” Raphael said.
Oldham’s injuries required 43 stitches.
Henderson was eventually charged with attempted premeditated murder and elder abuse with special allegations.
She admitted guilt, and a jury trial was conducted to determine whether or not she was sane at the time of the offense, according to court documents.
During the trial, defense doctors diagnosed Henderson with borderline personality disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder and a dissociative disorder, Raphael said.
On Nov. 3, Henderson was found to be “insane” at the time she committed the crime against her mother.
“It’s an incredibly sad case,” Raphael said, but this is the first time Henderson has been correctly diagnosed thanks to funding provided by Napa County courts.
When she comes out of the hospital, hopefully Henderson will be “whole,” he said, and will be a very beneficial person to society.
Henderson is a mother of three and holds a degree in social work, he said.
“She’s truly very sweet.”
Deputy District Attorney Holly Quate did not comment on the case following the placement hearing.