MOORHEAD — A judge has ordered a woman accused in the murder of a North Dakota man at a Clay County farmstead to undergo a mental health exam to determine whether she's fit to assist in her own defense.
Kayla Louise Westcott, 35, of Ada, Minn., appeared in Clay County District Court on Thursday, May 23, and Judge Michael Fritz granted the defense’s request for an evaluation of her mental competency. Until the exam is complete, all proceedings in the case are on hold.
Westcott and her co-defendant, 40-year-old Jason Jensen of Hitterdal, Minn., are each charged with a felony count of second-degree aiding and abetting a murder with intent, but without premeditation.
Jensen pleaded guilty in April, and alleged Westcott committed the murder. He's set to be sentenced June 11.
Westcott and Jensen were arrested in June 2018 after authorities identified them as persons of interest in the missing person case of Troy Edmond Yarbrough out of Wahpeton, N.D.
Yarbrough’s human remains were found at Jensen’s home at 25324 70th Ave. N. in Hitterdal.
At his April plea hearing, Jensen pinned the murder on Westcott, saying she struck Yarbrough with a cinder block and later swung an ax into Yarbrough's chest on the weekend of May 19, 2018.
Westcott's story differs dramatically from Jensen's account of the killing. According to court documents, she said Jensen first hit Yarbrough with an ax and then struck him with a cinder block.