By Diana Hefley Herald Writer
SNOHOMISH — Prosecutors say a Snohomish girl accused of stabbing two fellow students in October continues to talk and write about harming others.
While locked up, the girl reportedly created what she referred to as a “bucket list.” It included a number of violent acts, such as harming a toddler and blowing up a school, according to court documents released this week.
A fellow inmate at the juvenile detention center also reported to staff in mid-February that the defendant reportedly talked of finding one of the 15-year-old girls she allegedly attacked and stabbing her again. This time, she plans to make sure the girl dies, Snohomish County deputy prosecutor Cindy Larsen wrote.
The defendant, 15, reportedly has admitted to having thoughts of stabbing strangers and relatives for nearly a year, court papers said. She allegedly told a therapist in April 2011 about her thoughts of violence. She also reportedly admitted to detectives that she had been thinking of stabbing someone at Snohomish High School days before the Oct. 24 attack, court papers said.
Larsen filed a brief Monday in anticipation of next week’s hearing to decide if the girl, who turns 16 in April, will be treated as an adult would be or if the juvenile division of Snohomish County Superior Court will retain the case. She is charged with attempted first-degree murder and second-degree assault in connection with an attack that nearly killed April Lutz and injured Bekah Staudacher.
The girls were attacked in a bathroom before the start of school.
Prosecutors believe the defendant’s case should be moved out of juvenile court, arguing the attack was brutal and premeditated. If convicted in juvenile court, the girl could be held until she’s 21, or about five years. If convicted as an adult, she faces up to 25 years in prison.
“The state would have a great deal longer to work at rehabilitating the respondent in the adult system, and the public would be protected from her random acts of horrific violence for many years longer in the adult system,” Larsen wrote.
The girl continues to have thoughts of bathing in blood and killing and eating people, despite ongoing psychological treatment and incarceration, Larsen wrote.
A judge must weigh eight factors to determine if the case should remain in juvenile court, including the seriousness of the allegations and whether the offense was violent and premeditated. The judge also must consider the defendant’s previous criminal history and maturity of the girl.
Prosecutors obtained school and medical records showing that the defendant made thoughts of violence known to medical professionals, school staff and her mother.
She met with a school counselor on April 18. She told the counselor a friend had encouraged her to talk to someone about her suicidal and violent thoughts, court papers said. The girl wanted to know if those thoughts were “normal.” The counselor noted that the girl had thoughts of killing people.
“And the thoughts keep getting worse and I dunno why I think like that, like it’s normal; is it?” the counselor quoted the girl as saying. The counselor contacted the girl’s therapist at the Everett Clinic, who had the girl enter a “no harm contract” over the phone, court papers said.
That type of contract is used in suicide prevention as a way to get patients to agree not to harm themselves and often establish a plan to meet with a mental health professional to address the crisis.
The next day, two girls decided they needed to talk to a counselor about the suspect. One of the girls said the teen had talked about fantasies of killing people close to her. The other girl reported that the suspect offered to stab the girl’s boyfriend, claiming she had a knife in her backpack, court papers said. The suspect was expelled from school that day. She was told she couldn’t return to school until she received professional counseling.
The suspect had been seeing a psychiatrist for about two months. Two days after her expulsion, she was admitted to Fairfax Hospital, which specializes in behavioral health care.
Mental health professionals concluded that the girl “minimized her issues or was very guarded and gave vague responses.” She was released from the hospital after a week. The day after she was released, hospital officials sent the school a note, saying that the girl was safe to return to school and home.
Hospital staff concluded that the girl “was no longer actively suicidal or homicidal.”
The girl returned to school on May 4. The next day a teacher noted that the girl had cuts on her legs.
About a week after the start of school this fall, a teacher reported the defendant had “pretty much hit” another girl in class and had been harassing the girl. The teacher noted that the suspect was making other students uncomfortable. A week later a school counselor and the vice principal met with the girl and her mother to talk about her classroom behavior.
District spokeswoman Kristen Foley cited privacy laws when asked Wednesday about that meeting.
A student’s educational records are protected under federal laws.
Foley also noted that a student’s parents aren’t required to disclose to school officials their child’s mental or physical health issues.
“Schools don’t have a right to those records,” said Nathan Olson, a spokesman for the state Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction.
A mental health professional may have the obligation to notify law enforcement if a patient makes what would be considered a viable threat, but law enforcement isn’t required to notify school officials.
April and Bekah, both freshman, didn’t know the suspect or have issues with her, according to court papers.
Prosecutors allege that the suspect packed two knives in her backpack before school that morning. She reportedly went into the bathroom and waited for more than four minutes in a stall while four other girls went in and out of the bathroom. Prosecutors allege that she waited until she was alone with April and Bekah before she began her assault.
April was stabbed more than a dozen times with a large butcher knife. The blade pierced her heart twice and her lung once. The attacker also stabbed April through the leg, court papers said. Doctors called April’s recovery a miracle.
Bekah received a deep cut to her forearm that required more than 20 stitches to close. She also was stabbed in the back.
Police recovered the defendant’s iPod in the bathroom. It showed that the girl had been listening to a song on an album called “Suicidal for Life.”
That attack lasted less than a minute. The suspect reportedly dropped the knife as students and teachers rushed to help the wounded girls. The blade was nearly bent in half from the attack.
Diana Hefley: 425-339-3463; firstname.lastname@example.org.