Jury convicts Flynn of murder in mother’s death

By: Joshua Gordon | Shelby - Utica News | Published August 31, 2018

 Julie Flynn, 50, of Shelby Township, was convicted Aug. 10 of first-degree murder in the stabbing death of her mother in January 2017.

Julie Flynn, 50, of Shelby Township, was convicted Aug. 10 of first-degree murder in the stabbing death of her mother in January 2017.

File photo by Deb Jacques

MOUNT CLEMENS/SHELBY TOWNSHIP — A 50-year-old Shelby Township woman was convicted last month in the stabbing death of her mother at their home on Marissa Way, near 25 Mile and Dequindre roads, nearly 20 months ago.

After a four-day jury trial at the Macomb County Circuit Court Aug. 7-10, a jury deliberated for less than an hour before finding Julie Flynn guilty of first-degree murder in the death of her mother, Joyce Flynn.

Julie Flynn’s attorney, Elias Muawad, said the verdict was guilty but mentally ill. The distinction means Flynn will still go to prison for the rest of her life, but Muawad said there will be special attention to taking care of her mental health needs.

Muawad said he was seeking a not guilty verdict by reason of insanity and had an expert from the Michigan Center for Forensic Psychiatry testify, but Muawad said the jury was convinced by the prosecution’s argument that Flynn hiding knives and cleaning up blood at the scene meant that she knew what she was doing.

The jury only deliberated for around 45 minutes, Muawad said, although he hoped that they would have taken more time to go over the case.

“The jury felt she knew what was right or wrong and not mentally insane, but still mentally ill,” Muawad said. “I do think it is important she is getting mental help — I am not going to deny that — but I still think she belongs in a mental health facility, not in a prison.”

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. First responders reportedly found Joyce Flynn deceased with multiple stab wounds around her neck.

Julie Flynn was charged with first-degree murder, and her case was bound over to circuit court last July. Flynn’s first attorney withdrew from the case, and Muawad was appointed as her new attorney in March.

A psychiatric evaluation showed that Flynn was mentally competent to stand trial last June, and a second evaluation this year did not change that.

Flynn’s family had been in favor of her receiving mental help, with her sister-in-law, Kelly Flynn, testifying last summer that Julie Flynn had been unwell since her father passed away in 2016, and her brother saying he hoped that she would receive mental help. Flynn had become her mother’s primary caregiver with the passing of her father, and she moved into the shared condo in 2015.

Police testified that a pillowcase with “heavy bloodstains” was found on the washer at the residence that appeared to have been washed, and the home smelled of cleaning agents.

Macomb County Assistant Prosecutor William Cataldo declined to comment on the case, saying, “It is what it is.”

Flynn is expected to be sentenced to life in prison Sept. 27 by Judge Joseph Toia.