PARSONS, W.Va. – A Tucker County woman accused of killing her stepmother in 2018 has entered a plea of not guilty by reason of mental illness, which the court accepted.

Emily Heckler

Emily Heckler was charged with first-degree murder in the death of Marion Heckler. The Tucker County Sheriff’s Office said Emily Heckler stabbed her stepmother in the Hambleton area.

In entering this plea, Emily Heckler will be committed to a secure mental health facility and will be under the court’s jurisdiction for the maximum term for first-degree murder, which is life, according to Tucker County Prosecuting Attorney Savannah Wilkins.

Emily Heckler will also undergo an annual evaluation to determine if she poses a danger and whether such a facility is still appropriate.

Wilkins released the following statement on the case:

“This was not a decision that was made lightly, nor one that was made alone. Numerous mental health experts were consulted as part of this decision, as well as Marion Heckler’s adult children, and Sergeant Teter as the investigating and arresting officer. All parties involved agreed and consented to this resolution. Now, three years following her death, Marion Heckler’s family, friends, and loved ones will hopefully have comfort and closure to this tragedy. The Prosecuting Attorney’s Office would like to recognize the Tucker County Sheriff’s Office and all other assisting agencies for their hard work and dedication to this case.”

Tucker County Prosecuting Attorney Savannah Wilkins