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Arizona judge denies relief for Marjorie Congdon Hagen

Marjorie Congdon Hagen

A judge in southern Arizona has refused to remove intensive probation conditions placed on a woman in a forgery case that occurred more than three decades after she was acquitted in one of Minnesota's most notorious murders.

The Arizona Daily Star said an attorney for Marjorie Congdon Hagen asked a Pima County Superior Court judge in Tucson to reduce the probation terms so she can be admitted to a skilled nursing facility.

Hagen, 78, was placed on three years of intensive probation in March 2009 after she pleaded guilty to attempted forgery.

Hagen endorsed and deposited an $11,000 check into a bank account she shared with a man the day after he died in 2007, according to authorities. She then tried to transfer the money into her own account.

Defense attorney Brick Storts told Judge Clark Munger earlier this week that Hagen can't get into a nursing facility while on intensive probation, according to the Arizona Daily Star. Storts told the judge that Hagen's doctors believe she no longer can live alone.

Storts submitted doctors' letters describing myriad health conditions, including severe macular degeneration and orthopedic problems. They said that even with her guide dog and walker, she can't live alone safely.

Munger noted that Hagen's probation officer opposed the change and denied the request.

In 1977, Hagen was charged but later acquitted in the killings of her mother, Elisabeth Congdon, and her mother's nurse, Velma Pietila, at the Glensheen mansion in Duluth.

In 1984, Hagen was arrested for burning down her house in Mound, Minn., and sentenced to 21 months in prison for an arson and insurance fraud conviction.

In 1991, a year after Hagen and her husband moved to Ajo, Ariz., authorities accused her of trying to burn down a neighbor's home. She was convicted of attempted arson but was allowed to go home before reporting to prison to make arrangements for her husband, who was 84. The day after her conviction, Wally Hagen was found dead of a pill overdose.

Police said they believed he was exposed to natural gas from the kitchen stove piped through a garden hose. A murder charge against Marjorie Hagen was dropped for lack of evidence.