A status hearing regarding the mental competency of a woman accused of murdering a foster mother in Pasadena continues today in a Hollywood court.
Mary Jean O’Connor is charged with one count of murder in the death of Jeri Douglas.
O’Connor, 44, allegedly obtained confidential information about Jeri Douglas from the LA County Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) and then called her and claimed she needed her to sign some papers. Once inside her home, O’Connor allegedly choked Douglas to death.
O’Connor’s son was placed in Douglas’s care after O’Connor was been deemed an unfit mother. Douglas’s daughter Tanya Juhasz later adopted the boy.
Police arrested O’Connor in a mobile home in North Hollywood in late December 2018 and charged her with one count of murder. She has pleaded not guilty. O’Connor faces 25 years to life if convicted.
Later, O’Connor had a daughter that also became Douglas’s ward, according to a report by City News Service.
Her bail has been set at $2 million.
Juhasz and her sister Lorie Hope have filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the county. In their lawsuit they claim that O’Connor, 43, was able to locate and murder their mother, 75-year-old Jeri Douglas, due to negligence on the part of employees with the DCFS, who allegedly provided O’Connor with confidential information about Douglas.
“Beyond Douglas’ premature, tragic and unnecessary death, DCFS’s apparent failure to protect its foster parents is a violation of the public trust and unreasonably puts some of Los Angeles’ most vulnerable children and most selfless citizens at risk,” the lawsuit states.
DCFS is the largest child protective services agency in the nation, responsible for ensuring the safety of 2 million children, according to its website.