Woman accused of Hibbard murder pleads not guilty

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REXBURG — A woman accused of murdering her father appeared in Madison County Court for an arraignment Friday.

Jessica Conser, 34, who maintains the pleaded not guilty to one felony count of first-degree murder.

Conser allegedly murdered her father, Mathew Travao, on June 5 in his Hibbard home. Her children were in the house in the care of her father and step-mother at the time of the incident.

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During her arraignment, Conser’s bond was set at $1 million, although she fought for significantly less with a $100,000 recommendation.

Conser’s attorney, James Archibald, suggested the bond shouldn’t be too high because of her financial standing.

“She doesn’t have funds available for a high bond,” Archibald said.

During court, Madison Prosecuting Attorney Sid Brown noted she didn’t have ties to Idaho as her family members and children live out of state. Finding a place to stay in the community and ensuring that she would make it to her future court dates could be an issue.

An officer testified in a court of her multiple residences in Montana as a witness to the lack of ties she has in Idaho.

“The devil told her to come to Idaho.”

Archibald countered by speaking of her mental health and her mental state at the time of the murder, implying she wouldn’t be as much of a threat to the community if she posted bond. During court, he talked of Conser claiming telepathic communications with her father, her pastor and other voices leading her to commit the murder. He also noted that in court she had no prior criminal history and no history of violence, although she participated in fighting competitions in California.

“Basically, the devil told her to come to Idaho,” Archibald said.

Brown said her mental health is what makes her more dangerous.

“You’ll find that this was a premeditated, unprovoked murder,” Brown said. “At what point in time can you say she’s safe to go into the community?”

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“If she, unprovoked, hears voices and kills her own father… It makes her totally unpredictable, totally uncontrollable,” Brown said. “We can’t say what’s going on in her mind if she’s got a mental health problem. We can’t say what she’s thinking and what she’d do in response to those thoughts.”

Brown said he felt that the bond should be at the minimum $1 million, but should be higher because of the events of the case.

During the arraignment, the now-widowed Barbara Travoa addressed the court.

“If she gets out she’s going to hurt somebody I know she is. I’m scared to death,” Travao said.

She said other family members would go into hiding if Conser posts bail.

“She says, ‘Oh, the voices did it,'” Travoa says in reference to Conser.”What I know is she’s dangerous. If she can walk in a house and kill her own father. She’ll go anywhere… I am scared to death, and where’s she going to live if she got out. I don’t know what else to say — please make it high.”

District Judge Joel Tingey says taking her lack of ties to the community and her mental state, “I’m thinking a $1 million bond is probably where we ought to be on this,” he said.

The court is moving forward with a preliminary hearing and a trial set for February 2019.

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