Castaic woman accused of killing her father is headed to trial


A Castaic woman accused of killing her elderly father two years ago has been ordered to stand trial, the attorney prosecuting the case for the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office said.

Denise Ann Gillis, 48, appeared Wednesday in San Fernando Superior Court where a judge held her to answer to the charge of murder following a day of testimony presented at a preliminary hearing.

Gillis was arrested Sept. 5, 2014, when Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station deputies found her father’s body inside the Castaic home the father and daughter shared in the 31900 block of Emerald Lane.

James Edison Gillis, 87,  had several stab wounds and injuries on his head that had allegedly been inflicted the previous day.

Deputies arrested the man’s daughter within 30 minutes of finding her father’s body.

Gillis’ preliminary hearing began late Wednesday morning and wrapped up by early afternoon.

Deputy District Attorney Pamela Revel called four witnesses to the stand.

“I called a Walgreens employee, two deputies and the coroner,” Revel told The Signal.

On the day Gillis was to have been formally charged – arraigned – with murder, a judge postponed the arraignment and criminal proceedings against her while she underwent a court-ordered evaluation to determine her mental competency.

“The court declared a doubt as to the mental competence of the defendant,” Santiago said at the time. “Criminal proceedings are adjourned while the defendant goes to Department 95 for examination.”

Department 95 deals specifically with cases involving insanity and mental competency, according to documents published by the Superior Court of California, Los Angeles County.

Gillis’ psychiatric assessment, however, was extended for another month in January when she was expected to be arraigned a second time.

In March, following back-to-back psychiatric assessments, Gillis was found competent to stand trial on a charge of murder, Santiago said.

If convicted as charged, she faces a maximum sentence of 26 years to life in state prison.

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