PUEBLO, Colo. (CBS4) - Isabella Guzman was 18 years old when police say she brutally stabbed her mother to death at her mother's home in Aurora in 2013. She pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity, something prosecutors said was clear. A judge accepted the plea, sending Guzman to the Colorado Mental Health Institute at Pueblo.
In November 2020 she launched an effort to be released, telling CBS4's Rick Sallinger she is on medication and her sanity has been restored while alleging she suffered years of abuse at the hands of her family.
Going back to the crime, court documents said Guzman's mother, Yun Hi Moy, was stabbed 79 times in the face, neck and torso on the upstairs floor of the home. Her stepfather was home and found Guzman standing over his wife, holding a knife. Guzman ran from the home and was arrested the following day.
As the case unfolded in the summer of 2014, doctors told the court Guzman was schizophrenic and had suffered highly disturbing delusions for years.
He told the court Guzman did not believe her mother was in fact her mother. He testified Guzman believed she was killing a woman named Cecelia in order to save the world.
Prosecutors took that evidence very seriously. "We punish people who make decisions to do wrong when they knew better and they could have done something differently. And in this particular case I am convinced, based on the evidence that I've seen and the information that's been presented in court, that this woman did not know right from wrong and she could not have acted differently than she did, given the significant schizophrenia and paranoid delusions, audible, visual hallucinations that she was going through. I was convinced of it and I felt like in the interest of justice I had to take these steps," said then 18th Judicidial District Attorney George Brauchler.
At the time Brauchler said Guzman would stay at the state hospital until she was no longer a threat to herself or the community which could be days or for the rest of her life.
It was seven years later when Guzman talked with Sallinger about her mental state, saying she is ready to rejoin society.
"I was not myself when I did that, and I have since been restored to full health," she said.
Guzman talked about a fight she had with her mother, one revealed in those 2013 court documents which included a note Guzman wrote which included the words, "You will pay."
"The fight with my mom was terrible and I was injured in the process," Guzman told Sallinger in November 2020. "I have the scars on my hand."
"I was abused at home by my family for many years. My parents are Jehovah's Witnesses, and I left the religion when I was 14, and the abuse at home worsened after I quit," she said.
Guzman alleges she has been abused while at the state hospital, filing a police report in 2015 accused an employee of sexually assaulting her in a closet. She told Sallinger there were two other incidents with that same employee.
"I was afraid that if I didn't do what he wanted that he could ruin my life."
She wants him prosecuted but the at the time of Guzman's interview in November, the district attorney's office in Pueblo said it never received a case like from the hospital police. The Colorado Department of Human Services denied CBS4's request for information, citing privacy laws.
While Guzman would like to see that employee prosecuted, she told Sallinger what she would like most of all is to be released.
"If I could change it or if I could take it back, I would."
Sallinger checked back in with Guzman in early March. She told him at that point a hearing on how she could have more freedom in the hospital was set for March 11 but also said it had been previously postponed.
As for the claims of assault, she said she had met with the Pueblo County District Attorney's Office. Guzman said she was told her the way the hospital wrote the report made it difficult to pursue charges, especially given the passage of time.
The office suggested she contact the ACLU, which she is doing.
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