Woman accused in starving case competent for trial

EVERETT — State doctors recently concluded that a Mukilteo woman suspected of starving and beating a girl in her care can assist with her own defense.

Mary Mazalic was hostile, tearful and “an unreliable source of personal information,” but she doesn’t suffer from a major psychiatric illness that would prevent her from helping her attorney, the doctors wrote. She also understands the nature of the allegations against her, court papers said.

A judge on Tuesday set Mazalic’s trial for next month. Her attorney, Max Harrison told the judge that he’ll likely need more time to prepare. Mazalic, 35, is charged with first-degree assault of a child and first-degree criminal mistreatment. If convicted, she faces more than a decade in prison.

Prosecutors allege that Mazalic repeatedly beat, starved and burned her boyfriend’s younger sister. The 10-year-old came to live with the couple in 2010.

Harrison had raised questions about Mazalic’s competency. She refused to cooperate with doctors who tried to evaluate her in the county jail. At her attorney’s request, she was moved to Western State Hospital late last month.

A few days before she left, she sent a letter to Snohomish County Superior Court Judge Eric Lucas, expressing frustration with the delay in her case. She asked to be allowed to return home, where she could work on her case, or immediately be sent to the state hospital.

“… Here I sit several months later waiting over a month to go to Western and being treated like a mutt because this is how we treat our innocent! Right? I would hate to see how we treat our guilty if this is how we treat our innocent,” Mazalic wrote.

Mazalic asked the judge to “take a stand for us.”

The Mukilteo woman came to the attention of authorities in August after concerned shop workers reported that Mazalic was with a girl who appeared emaciated. The clerks said that the girl shook the entire time she followed Mazalic around the store.

The girl weighed about 51 pounds when Child Protective Services asked police to remove her from the home. That’s about two-thirds the weight of a healthy child her age. Doctors also reported that the girl had what appeared to be cigarette burns on the tops of her feet. She also had injuries that appeared to be consistent with being whipped with a cord.

The girl told authorities that she was beaten with an extension cord and a ball or sock was stuffed in her mouth to stifle her screams, Snohomish County deputy prosecutor Lisa Paul wrote in court papers.

She also said that often she was forced to go without food. Mazalic allegedly would eat in front of her and when she complained of being hungry, Mazalic would say “too bad,” Paul wrote.

Police noted that Mazalic, her boyfriend and their dog appeared well-fed.

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

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