IDAHO CITY, Idaho – A Caldwell woman facing a possible prison term for a January scalping incident suffers from bipolar disorder and exhibits psychotic behavior when she is not taking her medications, medical experts said.
Marianne Dahle, 26, will find out Oct. 14 if she will have to go to prison for scalping a 15-year-old girl at Kirkham Hot Springs. Medical professionals, including a psychiatrist who treated Dahle before the incident, testified at a sentencing hearing Friday that Dahle’s mental health problems were made worse at the time of the scalping because she wasn’t taking medication and was abusing alcohol and drugs.
“This isn’t an excuse, but the bottom line is she has a pretty significant bipolar disorder,” said Boise psychologist Craig Beaver. “I can’t think of a worse combination for her. (Dahle) is reasonably stable if she takes her medication and stays away from substance abuse.”
“Substance abuse makes her bipolar disorder almost untreatable,” said Caldwell psychiatrist Mark Kimsey, who had treated Dahle as part of an Idaho Department of Health and Welfare program.
Dahle, who could get up to 15 years in prison, pleaded guilty to a charge of aggravated battery earlier this year and was scheduled to be sentenced Friday. That was delayed until mid-October to give Dahle and her lawyer a chance to review new material in the pre-sentence report.
Dahle didn’t testify Friday but said earlier this summer in court that the scalping was an accident that occurred while she was trying to cut the teen’s mohawk.
The victim, now 16, is expected to give a victim-impact statement Oct. 14.
Dahle does not have a plea agreement with Boise County prosecutors. Defense attorney Kathy Edwards had Kimsey and Beaver testify on Dahle’s behalf before 4th District Judge Kathryn Sticklen.
Both said Dahle would need daily supervision if she were allowed back in society.
Dahle reportedly took the teen and another girl, who was 16, to the hot springs on the night of Jan. 18. She is accused of tying the girl up, grabbing the back of her head and slicing off a large portion of the back and top of her scalp, according Boise County sheriff’s reports. Dahle then drove the teen to Boise and left her at Saint Luke’s Regional Medical Center.
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