Matthew Prisco, 22, and Melissa Prisco, 19, leave court after...

Matthew Prisco, 22, and Melissa Prisco, 19, leave court after their mother, Kathleen Prisco, was arraigned Tuesday on charges of stabbing their dad to death. (Nov. 10, 2009) Credit: Richard Slattery

A woman charged with stabbing her husband to death will be transferred from the Suffolk County jail to a hospital, where her mental state will be evaluated, a State Supreme Court Justice ruled Tuesday.

Kathleen Prisco, 48, was arraigned Tuesday on a grand jury indictment charging her with second-degree murder. Her Garden City attorney, Thomas Liotti, entered a not guilty plea on her behalf and asked for an exam to determine whether Prisco is a danger to herself or others. He also asked that tests be conducted to determine whether she suffers from a chemical imbalance or hormonal problems.

>>PHOTOS: Click here to see the latest photos from the Fort Salonga slaying

Prisco was arrested Oct. 30 after police responding to her Fort Salonga house found her husband, Ralph Prisco, 54, in the foyer, dying from more than a dozen stab wounds. A kitchen knife was found nearby. Kathleen Prisco was upstairs and arrested a short time later.

Assistant District Attorney James Chalifoux, who said Prisco stabbed her husband 15 times, asked State Supreme Court Justice Robert W. Doyle whether Prisco could be arraigned, even though a psychiatric evaluation has yet to be completed.

Doyle said there was no reason she couldn't be arraigned. He said the exam will be completed at Pilgrim State Psychiatric Hospital in Brentwood, where she will be in protective custody.

At the hospital, "they will have a greater opportunity to observe your client," Doyle told Liotti.

Outside court, Liotti said his client had been taking birth control that could have affected her hormones.

In court, Doyle asked Liotti to submit papers requesting additional testing.

Liotti said later there was agreement from prosecutors to draw blood samples for those tests.

Doyle said Prisco will continue to be held without bail. She smiled at her children and friends seated in the courtroom before being led away.

Doyle granted Liotti's request that a privately retained psychiatrist be present during Prisco's mental evaluation.

Liotti said he will wait to make a bail application until after the exam is completed.

Prisco's three children declined to comment after the proceeding.

>>PHOTOS: Click here to see the latest photos from the Fort Salonga slaying

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