Random beating could be 3rd strike

EVERETT – He gets angry and violently lashes out at strangers.

He doesn’t always take his medication for a mental health disorder.

Now, Anthony P. Viscussi, 26, could be headed to prison for the rest of his life.

Viscussi recently was charged with first-degree assault in the Oct. 23 beating of a woman outside her Everett home. With two prior convictions for violent felonies, Viscussi now may face life in prison under the state’s repeat offender law.

Theresa Lindberg, 26, had never spoken to Viscussi until he allegedly jumped the fence into her yard and began swinging a metal pipe and hitting her in the head. Her 6-year-old son stood nearby.

Lindberg didn’t know that seven months earlier Viscussi was convicted of assaulting a man he’d never met. His father warned police that his son needs to be “kept somewhere to get help,” court papers show.

Viscussi was supposed to be taking medication. He was living under the supervision of the state Department of Corrections after a 2002 second-degree assault conviction.

“I’d like to know why he was placed across the street from my house with those issues and we didn’t know,” Lindberg’s husband Jason said. “Now, my wife has to live in fear.”

Jason Lindberg doesn’t hold Viscussi’s mental health issues against him, but he does wonder if the man accused of beating his wife was on medication, and who was making sure he took it.

“If he had a past history of this, it needs to be taken care of and made sure he is in a facility where he is monitored more,” Jason Lindberg said.

Unfortunately, large numbers of people end up in the criminal justice system because of mental health issues, said Karen Adams, community corrections supervisor for the Everett Community Justice Center for the state Department of Corrections.

Viscussi was “under fairly stringent supervision,” Adams said.

His community corrections officer met with Viscussi several times a week and worked closely with his mental health care providers, Adams said.

“Sometimes it comes down to resistance on the part of the offender,” Adams said. “If the offender doesn’t want to be engaged, doesn’t want to take his medication, there is only so much we can do.”

Viscussi’s alleged attack on Lindberg is part of a long history of violence, primarily against strangers.

When he was 16, Viscussi was convicted as an adult on a burglary charge and sentenced to 31/2 years in prison.

He was with two other men who broke into a house in Everett. Viscussi was armed with a club. Another teen had a knife and stabbed a 19-year-old man in the head. The victim suffered partial paralysis.

In 2002, Viscussi was sentenced to 14 months in prison for second-degree assault. He swung a large knife at a Snohomish County Sheriff’s deputy, plunging the blade into the hood of a patrol car.

Viscussi was taken to Western State Hospital for a mental health evaluation. He was found competent to stand trial for the 2002 incident, but was described as being hostile and assaultive.

The defendant cycled in and out of jail on misdemeanor charges after his release from prison. In March, he was charged with fourth-degree assault for throwing punches at two men outside the state Department of Corrections Office on Evergreen Way.

The men told police they’d never met Viscussi and didn’t know why he attacked them. Viscussi’s father witnessed the attack. His told investigators his son had been “acting strange and saying all kind of strange stuff,” according to court records.

Viscussi was sentenced to 60 days in jail, ordered to take his medication and undergo a mental health examination.

The week before the October assault, corrections officers removed a large knife and brass knuckles from his apartment in the 3200 block of Lombard Avenue, according to a search warrant.

Police believe Viscussi ripped the handle off of an oven and used the metal bar to bludgeon Theresa Lindberg.

Her physical injuries are healing, but she is frightened to go outside and shudders at loud noises, her husband said.

“I think it’s going to take a long time before she feels safe,” Jason Lindberg said.

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

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