Woman accused of murdering her mother gets new lawyer

Defendant also will undergo second competency evaluation

By: Joshua Gordon | Shelby - Utica News | Published April 2, 2018

 Julie Flynn, 49, of Shelby Township, enters the courtroom during a preliminary examination last summer after being charged with murdering her mother in January 2017.

Julie Flynn, 49, of Shelby Township, enters the courtroom during a preliminary examination last summer after being charged with murdering her mother in January 2017.

File photo by Deb Jacques

SHELBY TOWNSHIP — A Shelby Township woman accused of killing her 80-year-old mother in early 2017 has a new lawyer and will undergo a second competency evaluation.

Julie Flynn, 49, appeared in front of Macomb County Circuit Court Judge Joseph Toia on March 22 as her lawyer, Donald Teichman Jr., motioned to be dismissed after Flynn sought new counsel. Toia granted Teichman’s motion to withdraw, and Elias Muawad was appointed as Flynn’s new attorney.

Muawad said Flynn was seeking someone new to oversee her case and it wasn’t a situation where Teichman did anything wrong.

“She just wanted a fresh start,” Muawad said. “Kudos to Donald, as he did a great job on the case, and I have nothing but admiration. But I think Julie just wanted a new start.”

Muawad followed suit in the direction that Teichman was going in terms of asking Toia to grant a motion to allow Flynn to undergo a second psychiatric evaluation. In June of last year, Shelby Township 41-A District Court Judge Douglas Shepherd found Flynn mentally competent to stand trial.

Muawad said Teichman had already motioned for the re-evaluation, and he concurred with his decision.

Because of the new evaluation, Toia also adjourned the jury trial that was set to begin April 3 to give both Flynn time to get evaluated and Muawad time to get up to speed on the case.

Prosecutor William Cataldo said the decision to push back a possible trial date because of the circumstances made sense.

“The trial being a sophisticated one required (Muawad) to have more time to prepare in addition to there being some questions raised by both attorneys about whether or not she remained competent,” Cataldo said. “They want to determine whether or not there was any slippage in her competency (that) she gained since the last time.”

The next pretrial date is set for May 23, and Cataldo said that if Flynn is again found competent, he expects another trial date to be set.

On Jan. 30, 2017, the Shelby Township Police and Fire departments responded to a 911 call from the residence that Flynn shared with her mother, Joyce Flynn. First responders reportedly found Joyce Flynn deceased with multiple stab wounds to her neck, and Julie Flynn was present at the scene.

Julie Flynn was charged with first-degree murder, which carries a life sentence in prison.

Flynn was bound over to circuit court in July of last year after the prosecution and defense cross-examined three witnesses: Flynn’s sister-in-law, a responding police officer and the detective in charge of the investigation.

Teichman attempted to get Flynn bound over on second-degree murder charges, arguing that she has a history of mental illness and was in a “manic frenzy” when she allegedly stabbed her mother 22 times in the neck.

Flynn’s sister-in-law, Kelly Flynn, testified last summer that Julie Flynn had been unwell since her father passed away in November 2016, who was described as her “life support.” Julie Flynn had become her mother’s primary caregiver with the passing of her father, having moved into the condo in 2015.

All three witnesses testified that Julie Flynn had showed no emotion on the day her mother was killed and the home smelled strongly of cleaning agents. Detective Ron Weiss, of the Shelby Township Police Department, said police discovered a pillowcase with “heavy bloodstains” on top of the washer that appeared to have been washed, and the carpet had faint reddish-brown stains near where Joyce Flynn was found.

Julie Flynn’s brother, Steven Flynn, said after the court proceedings last summer that he hopes the court goes the mental health route with his sister.