Dancer competent for trial, judge says

By JIM HALEY

Herald Writer

An Edmonds exotic dancer accused of shooting a man in the head was found competent Monday to stand trial on a murder charge.

Marygrace H. Fajarilloc, 22, is accused of second-degree murder in the May 24, 1999, death of Daniel Hjellen 22, at the victim’s home in Everett.

Fajarillo has spent much of the intervening time at Western State Hospital in Steilacoom undergoing psychiatric evaluation and treatment, lawyers said. Mickey Krom, her defense lawyer, said he investigated the possibility of an insanity plea for a while.

Snohomish County Superior Court Judge Anita Farris set a Nov. 3 trial date, but Krom said it’s unlikely the case will go to trial.

In court, Krom told the judge Monday it’s likely Fajarillo will plead guilty to second-degree murder within the next two weeks.

Deputy prosecutor Chris Dickinson said he’s certain Fajarillo has mental problems because "she shot a man in the head for no particular reason."

However, he said she is now competent to be tried.

In fact, the prosecutor said he has contemplated increasing the charge to first-degree murder because Fajarillo allegedly went through Hjellen’s pockets, taking cash and keys, he said.

A death during a robbery is a cause for charging first-degree murder, Dickinson said.

A first-degree murder conviction would get someone a minimum of 20 years in prison. A second-degree murder conviction is more likely to net Fajarillo 12 years behind bars, Dickinson said.

Krom said Fajarillo is more likely to plead guilty because the prosecutor has discussed increasing the charges.

"They threatened to charge her with first-degree murder if she doesn’t" plead guilty, the defense lawyer said.

Fajarillo has been sent to Western State Hospital several times with varying results. The hospital once found her incompetent to stand trial, and more recently said she was competent and could help in her defense. She also was in the state hospital to straighten out her anti-psychotic medication.

Dickinson said Fajarillo used to work in topless clubs in Snohomish and King counties. Her former boyfriend was Hjellen’s roommate, and she was visiting at the time of the death. According to charging papers, Fajarillo told police she had shot the victim and gave various reasons for it.

Prior to the shooting, she had asked the slain man to loan her some money to keep her from being evicted from the motel where she was living. Prosecutors also alleged that Fajarillo was interested in guns, enjoyed shooting them and made statements about shooting people in the head.

After allegedly shooting Hjellen, prosecutors said she went to her parents’ home in Edmonds, where police tracked her down. According to documents, she still had the pistol used in the shooting.

Talk to us

More in Local News

Mel Jennings sits in his structure during a point-in-time count of people facing homelessness in Everett, Washington on Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2023. Mel has had a brain and spinal surgery, and currently has been homeless for a year. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Annual homeless count aims to give snapshot of housing crisis

Volunteers set out into the rain Tuesday to count all the people facing homelessness in central Everett.

Catherine Berwicks loads ballots into a tray after scanning them at the Snohomish County Elections Ballot Processing Center on Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2020 in Everett, Wa.  (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
Lawmakers push to boost voting in county jails across the state

A House bill envisions an approach similar to what’s been happening in the Snohomish County Jail for several years.

Vandalism at Seaview Park on Jan. 21, 2023 in Edmonds, Washington. (Edmonds Police Department)
Police seek suspects in repeated vandalism at Edmonds parks

Vandals have done over $10,000 of damage to parks across the city, including suspected arson and graffiti with hate speech.

One worker looks up from the cargo area as another works in what will be the passenger compartment on one of the first Boeing 787 jets as it stands near completion at the front of the assembly line, Monday, May 19, 2008, in Everett, Wash. The plane, the first new Boeing jet in 14 years, is targeted for power on in June followed by an anticipated first flight sometime late in 2008.  (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Boeing workers long-exposed to carcinogen far above legal limits

The company confirmed in depositions that parts of its Everett plant still don’t meet 2010 standards.

CarlaRae Arneson, of Lynnwood, grabs a tea press full of fresh tea from Peanut the server robot while dining with her 12-year-old son Levi at Sushi Hana on Thursday, Jan. 5, 2023, in Lynnwood, Washington. CarlaRae said she and her son used to visit the previous restaurant at Sushi Hana’s location and were excited to try the new business’s food. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Peanut the robot waitress is on a roll at Lynnwood’s Sushi Hana

She’s less RoboCop and more Rosey as she patrols the restaurant, making sure everyone has a drink and good time.

Traffic moves along Highway 526 in front of Boeing’s Everett Production Facility on Nov. 28, 2022, in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / Sound Publishing)
Boeing settles with Everett security guard claiming chemical exposure

Holly Hawthorne was assigned to Building 45-335 at the south end of Paine Field, while employees used aerosolized chemical sprays nearby.

A section of contaminated Wicks tidelands on Thursday, Jan. 19, 2023 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Port acquisition marks next step in toxic cleanup on Everett waterfront

Private owners donated land near the contaminated Wicks Tide Flats to the Port of Everett. Cleanup work could begin within the year.

FILE - In this photo taken Oct. 2, 2018, semi-automatic rifles fill a wall at a gun shop in Lynnwood, Wash. Gov. Jay Inslee is joining state Attorney General Bob Ferguson to propose limits to magazine capacity and a ban on the sale of assault weapons. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)
Democrats advance assault weapons ban, new rules for gun buyers

The measures passed a House committee without Republican support. They are part of a broader agenda to curb gun violence.

U.S. Attorney Nick Brown and the victim of a brutal attack in 2018 answer questions from reporters on Jan. 27, 2023 in Seattle, Washington. (Jake Goldstein-Street / The Herald)
White supremacists sentenced for racist beating at Lynnwood bar

A federal judge handed out stiffer sentences than prosecutors had asked for in a series of sentencing hearings Friday.

Most Read