Turkki, a 39-year-old East Syracuse, N.Y., resident, is charged with attempted murder and felony assault for allegedly stabbing and slashing the 7- and 9-year-old girls in their Katonah home.
Her lawyer, Jeanne Mettler, is planning a psychiatric defense.
“We are working to resolve this very difficult case in a way that acknowleges my client’s long struggle with mental illness,” she said today after her client ‘s appearance in Westchester County Court.
Turkki is accused of attacking the girls as they watched TV in their home on Girdle Ridge Road. She was in town to baby-sit them as their parents, Joseph and Eva Kelly, attended a Dr. John concert at the Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts just a few hundred yards away.
The parents were called home during intermission. The girls recovered from their wounds after a hospital stay of more than a week.
Turkki faces 25 years to life in prison if convicted of attempted murder. She has pleaded not guilty.According to court papers, she told police that she intended to kill her sister’s family when she drove to their Katonah home in July but said she was mentally ill and may have missed some medications.
“I feel sorry for what I did to my sister,” court papers quoted her as saying.
Turkki also told officers that she was “schizoaffective,” a condition in which a person experiences a combination of schizophrenia symptoms, such as hallucinations or delusions, and mood-disorder symptoms, such as mania or depression, according to the Mayo Clinic’s website.
Westchester County Judge James Hubert adjourned the case to Jan. 20.
Turkki is also facing a misdemeanor weapons charge in connection to the knife that was used to stab the girls.