EVERETT — A Marysville murder case, stalled for much of this year over questions about the defendant’s mental health, now appears headed toward a trial.
Wayne Alpert, 60, of Lynnwood, is charged with second-degree murder and assault for allegedly confronting strangers in Marysville with a gun June 11, leaving one man dead and another in fear for his life.
Alpert appeared briefly Tuesday in Snohomish County Superior Court. He pleaded not guilty and his trial was scheduled for February. Until then the defendant had not even been arraigned on the charges, which were filed roughly six months ago.
Alpert allegedly bragged to a jail corrections officer about how tightly grouped his shots were that day in June.
Seaton Jeffry Baker, 59, was shot in the heart and then seven more times while on the ground, according to court papers. Witnesses told police the gunfire erupted after the Marysville man had approached Alpert, wondering what business he had at the victim’s apartment complex.
Police learned that Alpert minutes earlier had been on a Community Transit bus. He reportedly yelled at the driver, left the bus and pointed a handgun at a passenger who had asked him to quiet down, court papers say.
When police moved in for the arrest, Alpert allegedly began shouting, “I shot him. I shot him,” as he crawled toward them.
There were questions from the outset about the man’s mental health and ability to assist in his own defense. The man was said to understand his legal predicament, but behaved strangely, including insisting that people in the criminal justice system were secretly working to end his life.
The case was placed on hold in July after a state forensic psychologist determined the defendant’s illness rendered him unable to assist his attorney in defending against the charges.
Superior Court Judge David Kurtz ordered Alpert sent to a state mental hospital for treatment aimed at restoring his competency. The judge Tuesday was told that state experts now say the mental health concerns no longer are an issue.
In September, the defense made an unsuccessful bid to have the charges dismissed, or Alpert set free, arguing that delays in getting him into treatment had violated his constitutional right to due process.
Alpert on Tuesday was being held at the Snohomish County Jail in Everett. Kurtz maintained bail at $1 million.
Scott North: 425-339-3431; north@herald net.com. Twitter: @snorthnews.