" Charles Tilden, who lived with Hegwood for three years, said she was on medication for her bipolar disorder and for depression. "
Midwest City slaying suspect’s kin say she’s mentally ill
BY NOLAN CLAY
Published: November 7, 2009
A Midwest City woman who admitted killing a retired nurse after a chance encounter suffers from bipolar disorder, a boyfriend and relatives told a judge Friday.
"She seemed to be getting worse instead of getting better,” said her mother, Vanessa Denney of Ardmore.
Kimberly Kay Hegwood, 35, admitted to police and relatives she killed Alma Block, 78, on Feb. 9 inside the victim’s home in Midwest City, according to court records and testimony. The two were strangers and had just met about 3:30 p.m. outside a Walmart in Midwest City.
Hegwood was at the store to buy a Valentine’s Day gift for her son, who lives with his father in another state. She encountered Block as Block loaded groceries into a car. She told police she followed the elderly woman home, carried the groceries inside and then they had tea.
"She said that she had seen a cord laying on the floor. She choked her with that,” testified Hegwood’s grandmother, Julia Lavers of Lone Grove.
Lavers said her granddaughter made the admission in a telephone call about 3 a.m. Feb. 10. Lavers said Hegwood also admitted to cutting the victim’s carotid artery.
Charles Tilden, who lived with Hegwood for three years, said she was on medication for her bipolar disorder and for depression. He testified Hegwood was in the shower when he came home about 4:45 p.m. Feb. 9.
"She seemed fine. She was happy,” he said.
He said he knew something was wrong, though, when she began asking if he would still love her if she had done something bad. He said he later had to call an ambulance for her after she tried to overdose on sleeping pills.
Defense attorney Robin McPhail told The Oklahoman that Hegwood tried to check herself into the Veterans Affairs hospital the day before the killing because she knew "she was losing it.” The attorney said Hegwood was turned away because it was too close to 5 p.m. She was told to go to an emergency room instead. Hegwood did not.
"It’s an indictment of our mental health system,” said McPhail, an assistant public defender. "We need to help our mentally ill.”