Suspect in slaying had drug fraud conviction - East Valley Tribune: News

Suspect in slaying had drug fraud conviction

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Posted: Tuesday, July 22, 2008 7:18 pm | Updated: 10:18 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

The Scottsdale woman who told authorities God told her to stab her 83-year-old neighbor to death inside her condominium on Sunday was once a state-licensed chemical dependency counselor in Texas convicted of prescription drug fraud.

Suspect in killing was released from psych care

83-year-old stabbed to death in Scottsdale

Jill Manahan, 40, was listed as being on interstate probation with the Maricopa County Adult Probation Department for the offenses she committed in Hays County, Texas, in August 2005 before moving to Arizona, according to Mike Goss, deputy chief of the Maricopa County Adult Probation Department.

Manahan was released by Psychiatric Urgent Care Center on Sunday, according to paperwork found inside her home before she told police she stabbed Grace Wood at the Aventura Condominiums, 9451 E. Becker Lane.

Manahan, who told police that God told her to stab Wood and that Wood was "part of the story," was arrested on suspicion of second-degree murder and burglary.

Manahan also told police she would kill again if the person was also "part of the story" or if "God told her to," according to Manahan's arrest report.

Police responded to a 911 call about 5:30 p.m. Sunday at the complex near 94th Street and Shea Boulevard and discovered Wood's body inside her home.

Manahan apparently forced her way into Wood's residence through a screen door before stabbing her in the back and chest with a knife believed to be the murder weapon, which was found in her residence, police said.

Witnesses said they saw Manahan in a frantic state on Wood's patio before she climbed through a window into her own home, according to police.

Police forced their way into Manahan's condo and found her covered with blood.

Goss told the Tribune on Tuesday that Manahan was placed on five years' probation for forging prescriptions to accommodate an addiction, but said he did not specifically know what drugs she was attempting to buy.

As a counselor, Manahan was licensed by the Texas Department of State Health Services. Her license was suspended by the state in August 2005 for violating the agency's criminal history standards for the prescription offenses, according to records from that agency.

It was not immediately known where Manahan worked as a counselor in Texas, according to Stewart Myrick, program director for licensed chemical dependency counselor programs for the Texas Department of State Health Services.

Scottsdale police considered Manahan an "extreme danger" to the public, according to her arrest report.

Just days before the grisly scene, on Thursday, police were called to the same complex when Manahan was seen behaving strangely and speaking incoherently, said Scottsdale police officer Dave Pubins.

Officers took Manahan to Scottsdale Healthcare Shea hospital for a mental health evaluation, police said. She was transferred Friday to Psychiatric Urgent Care Center in Phoenix.

Greg Taylor, a spokesman for Psychiatric Urgent Care Centers, said the facility's goal is to have a patient brought in, evaluated by a psychiatrist and stabilized. After they are diagnosed, doctors then recommend that the patient be prescribed medication or be admitted to an inpatient facility.

Taylor also said that Psychiatric Urgent Care Center is not an inpatient facility and that the center is permitted to keep a patient for only 12 to 23 hours.

Goss said that probation will no longer be an option for Manahan.

"This is a surprise," Goss said of Manahan's alleged actions. "One of the conditions of probation is that you remain a law-abiding citizen, and once you commit another offense, the probation period is over."

Wood, a grandmother who lived at the complex for about 12 years, was described by neighbors as quiet and someone who kept to herself.

Neighbors said Wood could be seen watering her plants on her patio with her gray tabby cat, Dumpy, nearby.

Manahan formerly worked as a waitress at Houston's Restaurant in Scottsdale, according to a manager at the restaurant.

An 80-year-old friend of Wood's, who lived close to her and didn't want her name released, said she saw police draw their guns before entering Manahan's condo.

"I still can't believe it," the woman said of the incident. "Grace was a lovely lady. It's hard to grasp. I can't fathom it."

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