Photographer: Maricopa County Sheriff's Office
Copyright 2010 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
SCOTTSDALE, AZ - A mental competency examination has been ordered for a Scottsdale woman who police say killed her husband of 35 years, dismembered his body and dropped pieces of it in at least three counties.
Shari Tobyne was arrested on a first-degree murder charge in August after she reportedly admitted accidentally shooting 57-year-old Dwight Tobyne in late November. This week, Scottsdale police announced that remains found in December in three locations had been identified using DNA tests as belonging to Dwight Tobyne.
Shari Tobyne's lawyer, Anne Phillips, filed a motion on Sept. 27 asking a judge to order her client to undergo the mental evaluation. Phillips wrote that she had difficulty communicating with her client during three visits and later learned she had a documented mental health history. Phillips declined to comment.
A judge granted the request this week. If she is found incompetent, Tobyne may be sent to a mental facility until she can understand the charges and assist in her defense.
Shari Tobyne has pleaded not guilty, and is being held in the Maricopa County jail.
The Tobynes grew up on adjacent farms outside Clifton, Kan. They moved to the Phoenix area in 2004.
Police were called in July by one of the couple's three adult children, who told them Dwight Tobyne had not been seen since before Christmas and had missed the holiday and the birth of a grandchild.
Scottsdale police spokesman David Pubins said detectives learned that Dwight Tobyne planned to separate from his wife and move back to the Midwest in late November. In early November, Shari Tobyne bought a handgun and went to a gun club to learn how to shoot.
Shari Tobyne had told her children that her husband had gone to Mexico in late November, but police tracked his cell phone in the Phoenix area in December. They also found his truck abandoned in an apartment parking lot after opening the investigation in July.
The first-degree murder charge alleged premeditation. She also is charged with abandoning a human body.
"The information that we have leads our investigators to believe that there was some planning that took place," Pubins said on Friday. "They do have quite a bit of evidence that helps them come to that conclusion."
Police said Shari Tobyne told detectives she planned to commit suicide, Dwight tried to stop her and the gun fired accidentally. She told them she disposed of the body because she thought no one would believe her.
After police opened their investigation, they followed Shari Tobyne and spotted her putting a garbage bag in a trash bin behind a store. The bag contained the gun she bought in November and clothing.
The remains were found in December by three different people during outdoor activities in three Arizona counties. Medical examiners and the state police crime lab eventually connected them, and when Scottsdale police developed a DNA profile of Dwight Tobyne, they made the match. Some remains are still missing.
Court hearings are suspended until the mental evaluation is complete.
Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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