Mental health of woman accused of abandoning body questioned

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) _ Missouri mental health officials say a 55-year-old woman should be found unfit for trial on a charge that she abandoned a body in a Columbia apartment.

The Columbia Daily Tribune reports that the Missouri Department of Mental Health says Deborah Berardi, of Columbia, doesn’t have the “capacity to understand the proceedings against her.” A judge ordered her to undergo a mental exam in February but hasn’t ruled on the mental competency recommendation. If approved, her mental competence would be reevaluated in about six months.

Her public defender wasn’t available for comment.

Columbia police said the body of 60-year-old Steven Summa appeared to have been dead several days before an employeeof a property management company found his body in January. Preliminary autopsy results revealed no indication of foul play.
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Information from: Columbia Daily Tribune