Published January 14, 2015
A woman accused of sending death threats to Catherine Zeta-Jones (search) was ordered to undergo a psychological examination after her lawyer said she tried to commit suicide.
A day after telling reporters that Dawnette Knight (search) had taken two sleeping pills merely to catch some shuteye, attorney Richard Herman said she tried to kill herself with barbiturates and blamed it on Zeta-Jones and a "campaign of vilification" by the media.
"Catherine Zeta-Jones has driven Dawnette Knight to attempt suicide and the real blood is on her hands," Herman said outside court Friday.
"We are shocked and outraged that the victim in this case, Catherine Zeta-Jones, is being portrayed in this manner," prosecutor Debra Archuleta said in a statement. "We believe these statements by defense counsel to be inappropriate."
A Zeta-Jones publicist said the actress had no comment.
Superior Court Judge Patricia Schnegg suspended the preliminary hearing for Knight, 32, and ordered an evaluation to determine whether she is competent to assist in her own defense. The hearing also was halted Thursday after Herman said his client was still groggy after taking sleeping pills and couldn't attend.
Knight, who wrote at least 19 letters threatening Zeta-Jones, is accused of one felony count of stalking and 24 felony counts of making criminal threats. She is being held on $1 million bail.
Zeta-Jones and husband Michael Douglas (search) testified earlier this week at the hearing, which will determine whether there is enough evidence to put Knight on trial.
"We are going to slice her up like meat on a bone and feed her to the dogs," said one letter read in court by Zeta-Jones.
Last month, Knight issued an apology for the threatening letters. She claimed in a letter released by her attorney that she had been infatuated with Douglas.
The judge said that if Knight is found competent, the parties will return to court Aug. 16, but that due to vacations, the preliminary hearing would resume in September.