Charge re-filed against mentally ill man in 2002 murder case

  • Wed Jan 6th, 2016 8:18pm
  • News

By Diana Hefley Herald Writer

MARYSVILLE — It’s been nearly 14 years since Brady Sheary’s body was discovered in the parking lot at Cedarcrest Middle School in Marysville.

The 18-year-old was stabbed and beaten to death, likely out of jealousy over a girl.

Twice prosecutors have been forced to dismiss the second-degree murder charge against the suspect, Todd Lee Brodahl, because state doctors concluded that Brodahl was too mentally ill to assist with his own defense.

Prosecutors on Wednesday re-filed the murder charge against the Marysville man, now 32.

Western State Hospital staff late last month notified Snohomish County prosecutors that they intended to release Brodahl to a less-restrictive alternative because under the law he no longer meets the criteria for civil commitment. Doctors don’t believe Brodahl is a danger to himself or to the community.

Snohomish County deputy prosecutor Chris Dickinson on Wednesday asked for a $500,000 arrest warrant to move Brodahl to the county jail. He’s been housed at the state psychiatric hospital for more than a dozen years.

A new charge doesn’t mean Brodahl is headed to trial anytime soon for the April 23, 2002, killing. Prosecutors must restart the competency-evaluation process. They were told that in order for a new evaluation to be done they had to re-file the murder charge.

A state forensic psychologist will need to determine if Brodahl can assist his lawyers and if he fully understands the charge against him. If he doesn’t, he can be sent back to Western for restoration treatment in the hospital’s forensic ward. That hasn’t worked in the past.

In 2004, doctors determined that Brodahl wasn’t competent to stand trial. Doctors found that Brodahl suffered from a mental disease but couldn’t pinpoint the problem. His heavy methamphetamine use prior to his arrest was considered a contributor to his mental illness, court papers said.

Prosecutors were forced to drop the murder charge but re-filed in 2008 after learning that Western planned to release Brodahl. The charge was dismissed a year later when efforts to restore Brodahl’s competency failed. He was civilly committed to the hospital and has remained there.

It’s a process Tammy Sheary can recite by heart.

“I don’t believe he’s no longer a danger to the community. I believe he will always be a danger,” Sheary said. “My biggest fear is that he’ll be released and will be walking the streets in my neighborhood.”

Sheary heard a few months ago that Brodahl could be freed. She is concerned that Brodahl is being released because of the ongoing problems at Western State Hospital.

The hospital has come under fire for long wait times for treatment of criminal defendants who aren’t competent to stand trial. Western is under federal monitoring to improve those wait times after losing a lawsuit in U.S. District Court.

Federal inspectors in November also warned the hospital it was at risk of losing Medicare and Medicaid funding if it didn’t improve patient safety.

“I want to know this case isn’t caught up in that mess,” Sheary said.

She was relieved when prosecutors told her that they were going to re-file the murder charge. So much time has passed and she was worried that prosecutors would decide against reopening the case.

“I can’t bring Brady back but I want justice served. He needs to go to trial for what he did to my son,” Sheary said.

Diana Hefley: 425-339-3463; Twitter: @dianahefley.