Rochester, N.Y. (WHAM) - The woman accused of shooting and killing an Orleans County woman last summer admitted to all charges against her Monday, but said she is not responsible due to her mental health.
Holly Colino is accused in the murder of Megan Dix. She had been indicted on nine felony counts by a grand jury, including second-degree murder. On Monday morning, she admitted to all nine counts, but pleaded, “not responsible by reason of mental disease or defect“ - citing her mental health at the time of the shooting.
On August 25, 2017, Dix was shot in the head as she sat in a parked car on her lunch break. Colino was apprehended three days later, but briefly escaped police custody for two hours before being recaptured.
The case took an unusual turn, in part, because of videos Colino posted to social media. They show a rambling young woman confronting people, including police. The videos were posted beginning five years before the murder. In several, Colino accuses people of copying her hair style to steal her identity. "They're all fakers imitating my hair - okay?" she says.
Armed with three weapons, Colino admits she randomly chose a person to kill. Yet her attorney says she has little knowledge of the crime.
"What she did know and what she did believe was going on was not consistent with reality," said Attorney Mark Foti.
In September 2017, Judge Charles Schiano ordered Colino to undergo a mental health evaluation to determine if she would be mentally fit to stand trial for Dix's murder. Two doctors independently interviewed Colino - one for six hours - and determined she suffered from a psychotic mental disorder on the day of the shooting. It's called Schizoaffective Disorder with bi-polar symptoms.
The doctors were able to see her mental state by looking at the social media posts. Even experts hired by prosecutors agreed.
"We have two esteemed medical professionals in the community getting up and telling the jury she's not responsible," said prosecutor Perry Duckles, indicating that the jury would likely reach the same verdict as the plea agreement.
“This wasn’t an act,” he told the judge.
Colino is now receiving treatment; her appearance and demeanor have changed. Her attorney said she understands the proceedings and now knows she's responsible for taking the life of a mother with an eight-year-old child. Megan Dix married her high school sweetheart and has seven siblings. A large number of family members were in court for the difficult proceedings, but declined comment afterwards.
As a result of Colino's plea, the case is turned over to the Commissioner of Mental Health. A mental competency hearing will be scheduled. Two doctors will determine whether she is dangerous and their findings will determine what level of psychiatric facility she will move to. She will likely be held for the rest of her life in secure facilities unless she is deemed "cured."