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Not guilty plea for Coeymans Hollow man accused of killing mother

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Updated: 7/31 6:28 pm

ALBANY, N.Y. – An arraignment was held in Albany County Court Thursday for a Coeymans Hollow man accused of killing his mother.

Cameras were not allowed inside the courtroom as Brandon Biers was arraigned on a felony second-degree murder charge.

Police were called to the Biers Road home the 24-year-old shared with his mother at around 1 a.m. May 25. When they arrived, officers found 50-year-old Theresa Michelli dead.

Biers has been in custody since the incident. A Grand Jury previously returned an indictment alleging that between May 24 and 25, 2014, Biers caused the death of his mother by strangling her.

His attorney John Sweeney says his client acted in self-defense, but would not comment on the history or the relationship between his client and mother.

“There are significant issues with mental health and significant issues of alcohol abuse. And they will become more obvious as facts are let known and develop in hearings,” said Sweeney.

Sweeney had no comment when asked if his client has a history of mental health issues. But this morning, the defense requested what is known as a 730 exam.

“We've had an independent evaluation and that independent evaluation indicates that Mr. Biers may not have the capacity to go forward in the system in his defense and we will have to see what the state's doctors say,” Sweeney said.

And the prosecution says this type of request is not uncommon.

“The purpose of the mental health exam is to determine whether or not he can assist in his own defense. Whether or not he has the ability to understand what is happening, the various processes involved in a trial and whether he can assist in his own defense,” said Albany County District Attorney David Soares.

He pleaded not guilty on Thursday, and remains in custody without bail.

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