Bothell man civilly committed in case of father’s killing

A Superior Court judge ruled Gavin Wollman was not able to aid in his defense. He had been accused of murder.

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BOTHELL — A Snohomish County Superior Court judge last week dismissed the murder case against a man accused of beating his father to death, ruling he was unable to aid in his defense.

Judge Cindy Larsen dismissed Gavin Wollman’s charge of second-degree murder following an agreed recommendation by the deputy prosecutor and his defense attorney. Doctors at Western State Hospital had determined he was incompetent to stand trial. He will be civilly committed while it’s determined whether he is still a danger to himself or others, according to the prosecutor’s office.

Prosecutors could refile the charges later if the defendant is found to be mentally competent to stand trial.

In June 2022, Wollman, 36, called 911 from his parents’ house. He reported his father had been trying to kick him out of the house and assaulted him, and that he hit his father with headphones, according to court documents.

Bothell police went to Wollman’s home in the 3000 block of 211th Street SE, looked through the front door and saw a man sitting in a recliner with an apparent head injury, court papers say.

Wollman’s father, Robert, was pronounced dead at the scene. He was 72.

Police arrested Wollman on a nearby street corner.

At the Bothell Police Department, Wollman reported to police that his father had been emotionally abusive to him his entire life, according to court papers. Wollman said that night he had been at a local bar, had a couple beers and “did not socialize with anyone.” He reportedly told police that when he got home, he grabbed a baseball bat and hit his father. He said he did not know how many times he hit him.

The next morning, Wollman went downstairs and saw his father motionless, according to his statement to police. He reported he ran outside and went to his neighbor’s house to call an ambulance.

Since his father’s death, Wollman has had three competency hearings to determine whether he was mentally fit to stand trial.

Earlier last month, doctors at Western State Hospital determined Wollman has the capacity to understand the nature of his charges, but is unable to aid in his defense.

According to the medical report, there is not a “reasonable likelihood” further competency restoration would relieve his symptoms. Wollman appeared to meet the criteria for “Autism Spectrum Disorder, Unspecified Schizophrenia Spectrum and Other Psychotic Disorder.”

Wollman had a history of being involuntarily detained because he was a danger to others, the report said. In February 2015, he was hospitalized after becoming increasingly violent at home, eventually choking his mother when she asked him to clean.

According to past testimony from his adoptive father, Wollman exhibited unusual behavior as early as 3 years old. Medical staff at the hospital noted he “appeared to perceive any negative encounters as bullying” and responded to internal stimuli in an aggressive way.

Jonathan Tall: 425-339-3486; jonathan.tall@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @EDHJonTall.

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