EVERETT — Once again Tammy Sheary is faced with uncertain justice.
The man accused of killing her son, Brady Sheary, in 2002 will not face a judge or jury now, and it’s unknown if he ever will.
Snohomish County prosecutors on Friday were forced to drop a murder charge against Todd Lee Brodahl, 26, after doctors at Western State Hospital again determined that Brodahl is too ill to stand trial.
Mental health professionals haven’t been able to restore Brodahl’s competency in the time allowed by law, Snohomish County deputy prosecutor Kathy Jo Blake said.
“In the future, if things change, we always can refile the murder charge,” she said.
Snohomish County Superior Court Judge Thomas Wynne ordered Brodahl held in jail until county mental health professionals can evaluate him for possible civil commitment.
Tammy Sheary let out a sigh Friday as the judge agreed to dismiss the murder charge.
She’s been waiting more than seven years for answers. She’s attended more court hearings than she can recall since her son’s death.
Brodahl is accused of beating and stabbing Brady Sheary, 18, out of jealousy over a girl. The teenager’s body was discovered in the parking lot at Cedarcrest School in Marysville.
“This is the first day I thought about not coming,” Tammy Sheary said Friday. “I had to be here though. The judge needs to know Brady’s mother still loves him. It’s important. Brady is important.”
Prosecutors were forced to dismiss the second-degree murder charge against Brodahl once before.
Back in 2004, doctors determined that Brodahl wasn’t competent to stand trial. Under state law, a defendant must be able to help his attorney and fully understand the proceedings and charges against him.
Doctors found that the Marysville man suffered from a mental disease but couldn’t pinpoint the problem, according to court documents filed in 2004. His heavy methamphetamine use prior to his arrest has been considered a contributor to his mental illness, court papers said.
Because of his history of violence and potential danger to others, mental health professionals recommended Brodahl be confined at Western State Hospital after the case against him was dismissed.
A Pierce County judge in 2004 ordered Brodahl held in the hospital under civil commitment. A person must be considered a danger to himself or to others or gravely disabled to be hospitalized.
Brodahl has been locked up since his arrest.
Last year state officials were talking about releasing him. They found that Brodahl no longer met the criteria for being held indefinitely.
Prosecutors quickly filed a second-degree murder charge against him.
Brodahl was evaluated on several more occasions. Again doctors determined that he isn’t well enough to assist in his own defense, despite his request to go to trial, court papers said.
Tammy Sheary now worries that Brodahl will be freed to live in her community.
She doesn’t give up though.
“I feel justice will find a way, regardless of how long it takes,” Sheary said.
Diana Hefley: 425-339-3463, email@example.com.