CRIME
07/08/2014 02:38 pm ET Updated Jul 08, 2014

Teen's Sanity Questioned In Suspected Sex Game Killing

An Arizona teen who pleaded not guilty to strangling her 43-year-old boyfriend during sex appeared in Maricopa County court for a sanity hearing Tuesday.

Doctors appointed by the court to evaluate 16-year-old suspect Jessica Burlew will offer expert opinions about the young woman's metal state and her ability to understand the court proceedings related to her case, according to KTVK. The hearing will determine whether she is competent to stand trial.

Burlew is charged as an adult in the second-degree murder of her boyfriend, Jason Ash. The man's body was found at a Glendale apartment in January after Burlew allegedly strangled him during a consensual sex game.

The age of consent in Arizona is 18.

The teen told police that they had engaged in sex games before but that she did not stop strangling the man because he did not use their designated "safety word," according to court documents.

Burlew's mother called 911 after she returned from a trip to the store to find the victim not breathing.

"They were playing a sex game," she told the dispatcher, according to KPHO. "She said they got in a fight and he was hitting her."

She said he was on a bed with his pants down and an electrical cord tied around his neck. He also had several cuts on his body.

Burlew, who has a history of mental illness, told police that she began cutting Ash with a razor blade once he became unresponsive, and then continued to cut him to alleviate her stress over the predicament.

Burlew fled the scene as her mother tried to help the victim. Burlew was arrested a short time later.

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