Case dismissed for Marysville man accused of killing mother

After three stays at a psychiatric hospital, Nathan Granum was still not competent to stand trial.

MARYSVILLE — Nathan Granum’s mental health records go back to 1998, when he was 6. A psychological evaluation in 2016 suggested he was living with paranoid schizophrenia.

Granum was charged with second-degree murder for allegedly killing his mother in July 2020. After three separate 90-day stays at a state psychiatric hospital, that case was dismissed Wednesday due to his mental illness.

Snohomish County Superior Court Judge Edirin Okoloko ordered him to be evaluated for involuntarily commitment to a state hospital.

Deputy prosecutor Justin Harleman said that since Granum, 29, is fairly young, the charges could eventually be refiled against him if he becomes mentally competent to stand trial. But at the moment, he won’t face trial.

“This is the outcome for now, but we’ll see what happens,” he said.

The defendant’s mother Laura Granum, 62, was going to get paperwork to evict her son on June 25, 2020, according to charging papers. She and Nathan Granum had been fighting for some time.

That night Granum’s brother noticed their mother still wasn’t home. He went to the garage and reportedly noticed Granum was acting nervous and sweating. He asked about their mother and Granum told him, “Don’t worry about it.” He told his brother to go back inside.

Outside the house on 48th Avenue NE in Marysville the brother noticed his mother’s Kia Optima parked in an odd spot in the driveway. When he approached the vehicle he saw a handcart next to the trunk with blood on it, the brother told police.

He opened the trunk and found his mother’s body, according to the charges. He called out to her, but she didn’t respond.

The Snohomish County Medical Examiner’s Office determined she died from blunt force trauma. Her death was classified as homicide.

Granum reportedly agreed to a recorded interview with Marysville police. During the interview, he said multiple times that “he heard voices for years telling him mean things and that someone should kill his mother,” according to detectives. Granum said he was scared of being homeless, but didn’t hurt his mother. He claimed either terrorists or hit men did it.

Asked how those other people killed his mother, Granum said “they beat her to death and stomped on her.” Meanwhile, a bloody palm print matching Granum’s was found on the car’s trunk.

“The defendant had no emotional response to hearing that his mother was dead,” prosecutors wrote in the charging papers.

Shortly after being arrested, he told a nurse “the voices inside of my head keep on insulting me.” They asked him to kill himself or others, according to a state mental health evaluation.

In an evaluation in late July 2020, Granum also said he felt somebody might have “tapped him” while he was sleeping. He claimed he had been followed by the FBI and CIA since he was a teenager, according to the evaluation filed in court.

Granum was first admitted for court-ordered inpatient treatment at Western State Hospital in Lakewood, Pierce County, on Sept. 1, 2020, according to court filings. Before his mother’s death, he said he had gone for counseling every two weeks for a year, but was not hospitalized.

At the hospital, he refused to take medication, saying he didn’t have a mental illness. A judge gave the hospital permission to forcibly medicate him in November.

In another evaluation at the hospital around the same time, Granum “alluded to some paranoid ideation,” but wouldn’t give many details, according to court documents. The doctor’s observations suggested psychosis, including hallucinations. For example, Granum would often smile or laugh to the side, “seemingly in response to something I could not hear or see,” wrote the psychologist evaluating him.

The doctor found he did not seem to be exaggerating his symptoms of mental illness and that Granum was not competent to stand trial.

“Mr. Granum currently lacks the capacity for a rational understanding of the proceedings against him and lacks the capacity to assist in his own defense,” the psychologist wrote in November.

The court again ordered Granum to two more 90-day stays at the hospital with the hope his competency could be restored.

“It was just a really tragic situation all around,” defense attorney Cassie Trueblood said in an email. “Mr. Granum is very ill and had never really had any mental health treatment in his life.”

Granum has no known felony convictions. He was previously charged with two domestic violence misdemeanors, both of which were dismissed.

Jake Goldstein-Street: 425-339-3439; Twitter: @GoldsteinStreet.

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