11 a.m. Wednesday update: A psychiatric evaluation of Geraldine Cherry has concluded that she is incompetent to stand trial for the murder of her 70-year-old roommate, Kathleen McEwan. Cherry will be committed to Norristown State Hospital. Her competency will be re-evaluated in a few months and a status hearing is scheduled for Oct. 17.
On June 20, Geraldine Cherry was arrested and charged with murder in connection to Kathleen McEwan’s death, according to police. The pair lived together in an apartment complex on the 300 block of Parker Avenue in Roxborough.
McEwan’s body was initially discovered 10 days before.
The senior citizen’s death was originally determined to be by natural causes. That changed to homicide after an employee at a suburban funeral home discovered a series of items, including a thin piece of rope and a candy wrapper, inside McEwan’s throat.
Cherry’s attorney, Fred Goodman with the Defender Association of Philadelphia, said Tuesday that his client will be committed to Norristown State Hospital if it’s determined she is unable to participate in the case’s proceedings.
“There are two possibilities,” said Goodman following Tuesday’s status hearing. “They’ll treat her and she’ll become competent and the other possibility is that she’ll never become competent. We just don’t know until she gets there.”
If Cherry is deemed competent, a date will be set for a preliminary hearing.
“If she is competent, I’ll try and get the fastest hearing date I can so that she remains competent,” said Assistant District Attorney Joanne Pescatore, who is prosecuting the case on behalf of the Commonwealth.