Tasneem diwan

New Jersey resident Tasneem Diwan, who bludgeoned her mother-in-law to death last year, was found not guilty of 1st degree murder by reason of insanity. (Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office photo)

An East Windsor, New Jersey, woman charged with 1st degree murder in the death of her mother-in-law was found not guilty Nov. 1 by reason of insanity.

Citing psychiatric reports, New Jersey Superior Court Judge Robert Billmeier said Tasneem Diwan, 47, was legally insane when she used a vase to bludgeon her mother-in-law, Safia Diwan, 73, to death on Jan. 26, 2016. Billmeier committed Diwan to a state psychiatric facility for an indeterminate duration.

Diwan, who is of Pakistani origin, has been in custody since Jan. 31, 2016, on bail of $1 million. She had faced a sentence of 30 years in state prison on the murder charge and two related weapons charges.

Safia Diwan had been living with her son Nauman, Tasneem, and their child in their East Windsor home. The victim was found in a pool of blood in a front room of the house by her son Nauman, who called 911 (see earlier India-West story here).

Tasneem went missing after the murder, but was found three days later at a bus station in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Police began to investigate Tasneem Diwan after blood-stained clothes, believed to belong to the killer, were found in a laundry hamper.

Diwan initially told police she had killed Safia, but pleaded not guilty in court last October. Her attorney, Joseph Mazraani, said that his client has been dealing with mental health issues for years.

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