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Denair teen to stand trial for murder

POSTED June 14, 2012 3:38 p.m.

 

A Denair teenager will stand trial for a Mother’s Day attack that resulted in the death of her father and serious injuries for her mother.

Stanislaus County Superior Court Judge John D. Freeland ruled Thursday there was enough probable cause to hold Shanna Wills, 18, over for trial on one count of first-degree murder for the death of Kenneth Wills, 62, and one count of attempted murder for the stabbing of her mother, Susan Wills. The judge also ruled there was enough evidence to sustain the other charge of assault with a deadly weapon and the enhancements that the teenager acted with premeditation.

The three days of testimony during the preliminary hearing revealed new details about what happened at the Salluce Drive home on May 8, 2011, and the mental state of the accused.

The day began with Shana Wills preparing an elaborate Mother’s Day celebration at the house. A 17-year-old male friend testified he came over to the house around 10 a.m. and saw that Shana Wills had placed cut flowers in every vase, jar and cup accessible and placed them all over the home. He said Shana Wills was spreading rose petals on the floor and preparing dishes her mother liked to eat.

The 17-year-old testified Kenneth Wills walked into the kitchen and seeing the display started yelling and cussing at Shana.

Earlier in the preliminary hearing Susan Wills testified she came home around 6:30 p.m. to find the surreal scene of flowers everywhere and her daughter and husband fighting.

Jennifer Pimlott, a neighbor whose house backs up to Salluce Drive, testified she could hear the argument and that it seemed to be escalating as time passed.

Susan Wills testified that the dispute turned physical when Shana used a shard from a broken horse statue to slice her father’s forehead. Kenneth Wills went into the kitchen, at which point Shana allegedly hit him with a vacuum and a stand-up electric fan.

According to the prosecution, Susan Wills and her husband were forced into their bedroom by Shana. Susan Wills recalled Shana ordering them to beg for forgiveness and telling them that they wouldn’t be hurt because she had made them angels.

Susan Wills said she was stabbed in the back by her daughter with a decorative knife Shana had picked up during the altercation. The wound punctured Susan Wills’ lung.

The fight between Kenneth Wills and Shana continued until he lay motionless in the hallway. Forensic pathologist Sung-Ook Baik testified that Kenneth Wills sustained six stab wounds and numerous bruises from blunt force traumas. Baik said all the stab wounds but one were superficial. The one fatal wound pierced Kenneth Wills’ intestine. Baik said Kenneth Wills died from blood loss that occurred over 20 to 30 minutes.

During the incident, neighbor Pimlott had placed two 911 calls about the escalating situation. In her testimony she recounted hearing a man and woman yelling, but at a certain point the man’s voice was no longer present.

Pimlott said she could hear a woman wailing and screaming and told the dispatcher the woman was either crazy “or she’s being killed over there.”

Pimlott recorded some of the fight on a phone and it was played in court. On the recording a woman can be heard saying, “I love you” repeatedly, but it’s uncertain who was speaking.

Stanislaus County Sheriff’s deputies arrived to find Kenneth Wills dead inside the home, Susan Wills seriously injured and Shana Wills nude in the tub in a semi-stupor.

Deputy Joshua Clayton, who took Shana Wills to the sheriff’s department, said she was rambling about being God and would be leading a crusade when she turned 18. The deputy also recounted Shana as saying she had been sent to wash away sins.

Detective Frank Soria interviewed Shana Wills for about three hours and during that time she continually referred to herself as God, the female Jesus, and that she had been sent to rid her parents of their sins.

At some points in the interview Shana Wills, who had been clothed in a disposable haz-mat suit, would pull the hood tight over her face and rock in a corner.

During the interview Soria gave Shana a bottle of water and then left the room. Via the video monitor he saw her pour the water onto his seat. Soria recounted that when he returned to the room Shana told him it was her blessing to him and that he would not get wet.

Soria described Shana as having erratic mood shifts going from giggles to sobs. She would also speak to him in an altered voice that she claimed was God.

A blood test on Shana was negative for alcohol, methamphetamine and cocaine and was positive for marijuana, according to court testimony.

Shana Wills’ mental state is likely to play a major role in her trial, should it proceed. Deputy Public Defender Greg Speiring, who is representing Shana, told the court that her “conduct was a product of her mental disease.” The defense also put forth the theory that Shana had been battered by her father.

In his ruling Judge Freeland said he couldn’t make any judgments about Shana Wills’ mental state because no expert testimony had been given, adding that just because someone has experienced a psychotic event, it “doesn’t mean they don’t have the ability to form the intent to kill.”

Shana Wills, who was 17 when she was arrested, is being held at Juvenile Hall. Her arraignment has been set for July 16.

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