EVERETT — A 16-year-old mentally ill boy on Thursday made his first court appearance since prosecutors charged him with premeditated murder.
Brad George is accused of bludgeoning his guardian Gina Latshaw while she slept in their south Everett apartment. Latshaw, 37, had been raising the boy since he was a toddler.
Prosecutors allege that George planned the deadly beating and later took a series of steps to hide his involvement. He was arrested Saturday night and allegedly confessed to the Feb. 7 killing. He faces up to 28 years in prison if he is convicted.
George on Thursday appeared in an orange jail jumpsuit and shackles. The teen looked to his attorney for several seconds, seemingly confused, before he quietly pleaded not guilty to the first-degree murder charge.
Veteran public defender Natalie Tarantino tried to comfort her young client, placing her hand on his back.
Relatives and friends of both the teen and Latshaw were in the courtroom. They became emotional at the sight of the boy in the courtroom, surrounded by corrections officers.
Snohomish County Superior Court Judge Joseph Wilson ordered George to remain at Denney Juvenile Justice Center on $500,000 bail.
In keeping with state law, George is charged as an adult because of his age and the seriousness of the allegations.
Tarantino plans to argue that the case belongs in juvenile court. She told Wilson that she intends to file a motion to ask a judge to decide if the case should continue to go forward in adult court.
Trial is scheduled for April 4.
The boy’s mental health history is expected to be raised. Court documents show that George was diagnosed with conduct and mood disorders and post-traumatic stress disorder.
The boy reportedly told detectives that he had stopped taking his medications about a week before the killing.
Latshaw sought treatment for the boy when he was just 5. He has been hospitalized in the past, including one stay in 2010 for hallucinations. During that stay, George was diagnosed with homicidal ideation. He threatened a nurse with a piece of wood he’d pried loose from a chair.
Diana Hefley: 425-339-3463, firstname.lastname@example.org