Harmon Found Competent For Trial

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Lisa Harmon, the woman in Mesa del Caballo who was charged with animal abuse, has undergone a psychiatric evaluation and has been found competent to stand trial.

In early June, county animal-control officers removed 64 cats, two dogs, seven rabbits and one horse from Harmon's home. She had stashed another 37 cats in a Payson motel room, where their discovery led to Harmon's arrest; 96 misdemeanor counts of cruelty to animals by neglect or abandonment; 96 felony counts of cruel neglect or abandonment; and one count of criminal damage related to the condition of the motel room.

The misdemeanor counts have been slated for trial at 3 p.m., Sept. 5, in the Payson courthouse. A trial date has not yet been set for the felony counts, which have been transferred to superior court, Det. Brian Havey of the Gila County Sheriff's Department said. The setting of a court date had hinged on Harmon's completion of a psychiatric evaluation.

"She did undergo an evaluation, and she was found competent to stand trial," Havey said.

Harmon, who spent a month in the Payson and Globe jails, is now free on $2,500 bail.

Harmon's Mesa del home remains under the scrutiny of the Gila County Health Department, which last month deemed the trash-strewn property a potential health hazard.

"We understand that (Harmon) has moved back into the house, and that the bank has foreclosed on the property," said Dave Fletcher, assistant director of the Gila County Health Department. "If the bank is going to foreclose, then we can ... get them to clean up the house. That would be the easiest solution for us."

According to Dave Pote, the county's environmental health director, Harmon is doing the cleanup herself.

"I was out there Friday, and she did have a trailer that was filled with bags of trash and a sign on her door that said she was out looking for work," Pote said. "It looked like there was some improvement there, and that's a good thing."

If Harmon continues the cleanup, Pote said, no formal action would be taken by his department.

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