Woman facing charges in Chestnut Apartments fire found incompetent

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(ABC 6 News) – Annette Marie Phillips was found incompetent in a remote hearing Thursday.

RELATED | Woman facing charges in Chestnut Apartments fire | KAALTV.com

According to court documents filed Friday, Drs. Steven C. Norton and Kristin Matson, appointed to judge Phillips’ mental state, said she lacked the ability to understand and participate in her own defense.

On Friday, Judge Jodi Williamson ruled that all charges would be suspended until Phillips was deemed competent to proceed. The ruling will be reevaluated every six months, and if the suspension lasts for three years, the charges will be dismissed.

Phillips, 69, faced eight charges, including second-degree manslaughter in the death of 68-year-old Cynthia Ferguson, related to the February 2021 fire that destroyed a Chestnut Apartments building.

RELATED | UPDATE: 68-year-old killed in apartment fire, two others in critical condition | KAALTV.com

Dodge County judge Jodi Williams ordered a competency hearing earlier this year.

At the time of the fire, Phillips told another tenant that a cigarette had started the fire, according to court documents.

Phillips had been warned about smoking in the building in the past.

Surveillance video from the complex showed Phillips coming out of her apartment, yelling for help, and then sitting in the lobby near the door. Documents noted that she did not pull the fire alarm or alert any resident about the fire.