38-year-old found ‘not criminally liable’ of killing father due to mental illness

A 38-year-old woman was found “not criminally liable” of a murder charge on Wednesday in Hennepin County Court due to mental illness.

Maria Angela Palen was charged with murder after fatally stabbing her father, 78-year-old Joseph Frederick Palen, in August.

According to a verdict filed Wednesday, “Ms. Palen has proven by a preponderance of the evidence that, at the time of her acts, she was laboring under such defect of reason as to not know the nature of the acts
constituting the present charge, and laboring under such defect of reason as to not know her acts were wrong. Therefore, the court finds that Ms. Palen is not criminally liable for her acts.”

Court documents also state that Palen is currently under civil commitment and must be detained in a state hospital or other facility while civil commitment proceedings are being completed.

As previously reported, Minneapolis police were called to a home on Dupont Avenue South near Summit Avenue on Aug. 11. They found Joseph Palen at the home, suffering several stab wounds. He died at the scene.

According to a criminal complaint, officers found Maria Phalen lying on the ground in the backyard, with dried blood on her.

When Palen was arrested, she told officers, “He’s always messing with me, my whole life, it’s like whoa, people saying murder me. He has always been very controlling and he just won’t let me go off on my own.”

The criminal complaint adds that, when asked about how the murder happened, she responded that her father “weirdly wanted me to do it.”