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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Woman accused of Hollis home invasion competent to stand trial

NASHUA – A judge has ruled that a Massachusetts woman is competent to face attempted murder charges stemming from a home invasion in Hollis last year.

Hillsborough County Superior Court Judge Kathleen McGuire found that Cynthia Nagele, 58, of Lowell, Mass., can stand trial and will be able to adequately discuss the case with her lawyers after hearing from the state’s chief forensic examiner earlier this month. Dr. Daniel Comiskey testified that Nagele’s competency has improved since she began receiving mental health treatment. ...

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NASHUA – A judge has ruled that a Massachusetts woman is competent to face attempted murder charges stemming from a home invasion in Hollis last year.

Hillsborough County Superior Court Judge Kathleen McGuire found that Cynthia Nagele, 58, of Lowell, Mass., can stand trial and will be able to adequately discuss the case with her lawyers after hearing from the state’s chief forensic examiner earlier this month. Dr. Daniel Comiskey testified that Nagele’s competency has improved since she began receiving mental health treatment.

Nagele is facing the possibility of life in prison for an attempted murder charge that accuses her of breaking into a trailer on Mooar Hill Road in Hollis on May 17, 2013, and beating and stabbing the man inside, according to court records.

Two Massachusetts men are facing less serious charges from the same incident.

Nagele’s attorneys asked the court to order a competency evaluation after having concerns about her ability to understand and retain vital information about her case. Public defenders Amanda Steenhuis and Eleftheria Keans filed a motion in April after they noticed Nagele’s growing difficulty processing information as they talked to her about accepting a plea bargain or going to trial, according to their motion.

“Counsel isn’t sure if Ms. Nagele’s struggles with comprehension are due to the nature of the conversations, undiagnosed mental health issues, or both,” according to the motion.

Comiskey said Nagele struggled with depression and anxiety but that her symptoms have improved since she began receiving treatment and taking medication.

The defense attorneys also have filed motions indicating they may use claims of self-defense or the state’s stand-your-ground law at trial, according to court documents.

Prosecutors have asked Temple to strike down Nagele’s possible claims of self-defense or the state’s “stand your ground” law.

“Simply put, the defendant burglarized, stabbed, bludgeoned and tried to kill the victim, in the victim’s home, during a home invasion,” prosecutors wrote. “The defendant is simply not entitled to justify her actions by availing herself of the self-defense or defense of premise statute.”

Nagele could argue she acted in self-defense to justify her use of nondeadly force because her brother, another resident of the trailer, had given her permission to be on the property, according to court documents.

Police say she used a box cutter to repeatedly stab the resident of a trailer on Mooar Hill Road in Hollis in the arm and chest, as well as hitting the man in the head with a hammer.

Nagele’s is free on $50,000 bail, according to court documents.

Joseph G. Cote can be reached at 594-6415 or jcote@nashua
telegraph.com. Also, follow Cote on Twitter (@Telegraph_JoeC).