Decision on whether to charge stabbing suspect as adult not expected until January

SNOHOMISH — It likely won’t be until January before a judge decides if a Snohomish girl accused of stabbing two fellow students last month will be tried as an adult or if the case will remain in juvenile court.

The girl’s attorney, Caroline Mann requested additional time on Tuesday, saying she was in the process of hiring an expert to evaluate the girl. The veteran public defender also told the judge that she has some concerns about whether the girl is competent to stand trial.

“I don’t know if there are actual issues yet, but I have some concerns,” Mann said.

The girl, 15, is charged with attempted first-degree murder and second-degree assault in connection with the Oct. 24 attack at Snohomish High School.

April Lutz, 14, was critically injured, suffering near fatal stab wounds to her heart. Bekah Staudacher, 15, was slashed and stabbed as she tried to stop the attack on her childhood friend.

The suspect didn’t know the girls, according to court papers. She allegedly told detectives that she planned to stab someone when she stowed two kitchen knives in her backpack before school. The girl had been suspended from the high school in April after two other students complained that she had made threats to kill one girl’s boyfriend.

She was allowed to return to classes a couple of weeks later after school officials received a note from a mental health professional who concluded that she was safe to be in school. The girl was seeing a counselor and taking medications prior to the knife attack.

Prosecutors have filed a motion to have the case moved to adult court. Lawyers on Tuesday set a new hearing for Jan. 18.

Meanwhile April and Bekah and their families attended an all-school assembly Tuesday morning.

“It was a time for the school to come together in celebrating their spirit in helping others,” district spokeswoman Kristin Foley said.

The assembly wasn’t open to reporters.

Snohomish police and firefighters were on hand to honor eleven people, including teachers and students who came to the aid of the victims that morning.

There were handshakes, hugs and tears, Foley said.

Bekah returned to class after the assembly. April has yet to return to school.

Diana Hefley: 425-339-3463; hefley@heraldnet.com.

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