Sunday, September 25

Murder Charge Dismissed Because of Treatment Delays


EVERETT, Wash. (AP) — An Edmonds man’s first-degree murder charge in the death of his father was dismissed this week because of delays in his mental health treatment.

Snohomish County Superior Court Judge Janice Ellis on Wednesday found John Fry’s continued wait for transport to Western State Hospital could violate his due process rights, The Herald reported.

“His dangerousness is obvious, yet it is not appropriate to maintain him in the Snohomish County Jail without a reliable path towards restoration services,” Ellis said in court Wednesday.

She said she was dismissing the case but that charges could be refiled.

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He had been diagnosed with schizophrenia years before his father Stephen Fry, 64, was killed, he reportedly told police.

Fry said he believed his father was abusing him, but said he was never assaulted, according to the court documents. Prosecutors said in November 2019 he looked up “justifiable homicide” on the internet.

On Nov. 21, Fry told police he thought he heard his father talking about a gun, but could have imagined it. Fry then confronted his father, punching and stabbing him repeatedly with a utility knife, court documents said.

Snohomish County prosecutors charged Fry but Superior Court Judge Richard Okrent ordered 90 days of competency restoration treatment. At his intake, Fry reported feeling other people were putting thoughts in his head. A judge later ordered a second 90-day restoration period.

In October 2020, a judge determined he could stand trial.

But Fry stopped taking his medication and mental health concerns creeped back, his public defender Robert O’Neal said Wednesday. Last spring, a judge ordered Fry receive more restoration treatment. In such cases, defendants are required to be admitted within a week.

Across Washington, orders for restoration treatment have spiked. The past eight years have seen a 145% increase in demand, assistant attorney general Andrew Logerwell said August.

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