Teen accused of killing man during sex due in court

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By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

PHOENIX -- A Glendale teen accused of strangling a man to death during sex is due in court Tuesday to find out if she is considered competent to stand trial.

Jessica Burlew, 16, was charged as an adult with second-degree murder.

The charge stems from the death of her boyfriend, Jason Ash, 43. His body was found in a Glendale apartment in January.

Burlew reportedly told her mother that she and Ash were playing sex games and he was cut and choked. She said Ash did not say the "safety word," the documents stated. Burlew told police that they would often engage in such acts prior to consensual sex.

Burlew told police that after she strangled Ash, she began cutting him with a razor blade in an attempt to get a response since he appeared to have passed out, according to the court documents. After she didn't get a response, she said she continued to cut him in order to alleviate her stress from the situation.

Burlew's mother said the teen has a history of cutting herself "as a release," according to the court paperwork.

The court appointed Dr. Jacqueline Worsley and Dr. Joanne Babich to evaluate Burlew, who pleaded not guilty to the crime in February. The doctors will offer their expert opinions about Burlew's metal state and her ability to understand the court proceedings related to her case and actively participate in her own defense.

If Burlew, who remains in custody, is found competent to stand trial, her case will go forward.

Should she be found incompetent and restorable, she will be sent to the Correctional Health Services Restoration to Competency (RTC) program and re-evaluated at a later date. Depending on that outcome, Burlew's case could move forward, or she could be considered "not restorable" and possibly eligible for civil commitment.