A San Mateo County judge on Tuesday found a 50-year-old Redwood City woman accused of attempting to kill her family not guilty by reason of insanity. Philomena Brown, who was charged with three counts of attempted murder and two counts of felony child abuse for allegedly drugging her husband of 26 years and their two children, ages 23 and 13, on the morning of June 20, admitted to the charges and pleaded no contest, Chief Deputy District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said. Based on the reports of three court-appointed doctors who evaluated Brown’s mental state and each found her to be insane when she attacked her family, Judge Lisa Novak found the defendant not guilty by reason of insanity and ordered her to return to court on Dec. 8 for placement in a state mental hospital. Prosecutors had alleged that Brown laced her family’s dinner with debilitating drugs, and at around 4 a.m., went into her daughter’s bedroom and began beating her with a 10-pound dumbbell, fracturing her skull. She then attacked her son, punching him in the face. Brown’s husband was in bed, drugged and unable to get up. Brown was later found face-down on the beach near Half Moon Bay and was taken to a hospital. The daughter and son have since recovered from their injuries. A protective order restricting communication between the defendant and her family remains in place, Wagstaffe said.
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