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Suspect pleads insanity in killing of former Atherton town arborist

Francis Wolke is being held on $10 million bail in 2018 murder of Kathy Hughes Anderson

Francis Wolke, the man who allegedly killed Menlo Park resident and former Atherton town arborist Kathy Hughes Anderson in her home on Dec. 12, 2018 pleaded not guilty of murder by reason of insanity in court Monday, Nov. 9, according to the San Mateo County District Attorney's Office.

Francis Wolke. Courtesy San Mateo County District Attorney's Office

Judge Stephanie G. Garratt held the pre-trial conference in which Wolke entered the plea, according to the District Attorney's office. Wolke, 28, and the prosecutor appeared by remote video, while defense attorney Connie O'Brien was present in court.

The court appointed two doctors to examine the defendant's frame of mind, over the objection of Wolke's attorney, according to the District Attorney's office.

Police arrested Wolke after he was found at Hughes Anderson's home on Valparaiso Avenue on Dec. 12, the day her body was found, and booked him into San Mateo County jail on first-degree murder charges, according to a Menlo Park Police Department report.

Wolke had arrived in the Bay Area from Cincinnati just a few days before the killing, and there is no known relationship or contact between Wolke and Hughes Anderson, nor a motive for the crime, according to the District Attorney's office.

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Wolke had an outstanding arrest warrant from the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office for prowling and possession of narcotics stemming from a 2014 case, according to Menlo Park police.

A jury trial is set for Jan. 25, 2021 at 9 a.m. This is the third setting of the jury trial date since Wolke's superior court arraignment on Nov. 1, 2019.

The defendant remains in custody on $10 million bail.

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Angela Swartz writes for The Almanac, a sister publication of PaloAltoOnline.com.

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Suspect pleads insanity in killing of former Atherton town arborist

Francis Wolke is being held on $10 million bail in 2018 murder of Kathy Hughes Anderson

by / Almanac

Uploaded: Wed, Nov 11, 2020, 4:55 pm

Francis Wolke, the man who allegedly killed Menlo Park resident and former Atherton town arborist Kathy Hughes Anderson in her home on Dec. 12, 2018 pleaded not guilty of murder by reason of insanity in court Monday, Nov. 9, according to the San Mateo County District Attorney's Office.

Judge Stephanie G. Garratt held the pre-trial conference in which Wolke entered the plea, according to the District Attorney's office. Wolke, 28, and the prosecutor appeared by remote video, while defense attorney Connie O'Brien was present in court.

The court appointed two doctors to examine the defendant's frame of mind, over the objection of Wolke's attorney, according to the District Attorney's office.

Police arrested Wolke after he was found at Hughes Anderson's home on Valparaiso Avenue on Dec. 12, the day her body was found, and booked him into San Mateo County jail on first-degree murder charges, according to a Menlo Park Police Department report.

Wolke had arrived in the Bay Area from Cincinnati just a few days before the killing, and there is no known relationship or contact between Wolke and Hughes Anderson, nor a motive for the crime, according to the District Attorney's office.

Wolke had an outstanding arrest warrant from the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office for prowling and possession of narcotics stemming from a 2014 case, according to Menlo Park police.

A jury trial is set for Jan. 25, 2021 at 9 a.m. This is the third setting of the jury trial date since Wolke's superior court arraignment on Nov. 1, 2019.

The defendant remains in custody on $10 million bail.

Angela Swartz writes for The Almanac, a sister publication of PaloAltoOnline.com.

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