In this April 2017 photo, a security officer stands on steps at the entrance to Western State Hospital in Lakewood, Washington. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)

In this April 2017 photo, a security officer stands on steps at the entrance to Western State Hospital in Lakewood, Washington. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)

Man accused of teen’s murder released from hospital after 22 years

In 2002, Todd Brodahl was accused of beating Brady Sheary to death. He has been in Western State Hospital ever since.

MARYSVILLE — It’s been 22 years since Brady Sheary was found beaten and stabbed to death in a Marysville middle school parking lot.

He was 18.

His alleged killer, Todd Brodahl, now 40, has never been convicted of the crime. He has instead spent most of the past two decades at Western State Hospital being treated for schizoaffective disorder since the 2002 killing.

On Monday, Brodahl was released into a “less-restrictive” group home in Everett at the recommendation of the hospital’s internal panel, according to the Snohomish County Prosecutor’s Office.

In an evaluation last month, however, a Public Safety Review Panel at the state Department of Social and Health Services strongly urged against the hospital’s decision, citing an unclear plan to address Brodahl’s mental health needs once he is released.

“Mr. Brodahl is someone who doesn’t believe he is mentally ill and doesn’t really think he needs medications,” read the panel’s letter on Jan. 5. “He has expressed that he wants to live with his parents on their property, although both his parents have been deceased for some time now.”

The victim’s mother, Tamera Sheary, 65, said the release of her son’s alleged killer makes her fear for her life.

“I don’t want to have to sleep with one eye open,” Tamera Sheary said in an interview with The Daily Herald last week. “I think he needs to be held accountable. I don’t think he should be able to be let go.”

On the night of April, 23, 2002, Brodahl and Brady Sheary spent the evening together prior to his murder, charges say. The two were together at a store in Marysville. Police stopped them as they walked home. Around 4 a.m., witnesses saw them arrive at Cedercrest Middle School at 6400 88th St. NE.

Hours later, Brodahl returned to the convenience store alone, with injuries to his knuckles and throat, the charges say. He told the store clerk he “took care of some Marysville fool last night,” the charging papers say.

Around 6 a.m., an employee at Cedercrest reported a person had been beaten. Police arrived to find Brady Sheary’s battered body in the parking lot with “obvious trauma inflicted to his head, face, hands and chest,” according to the charges filed in 2003. A large knife and rock were reportedly found nearby.

Brady Sheary ultimately died from either major head trauma or a stab wound to the heart, the Snohomish County Medical Examiner’s Office determined.

Brodahl was a teenager at the time, too.

In the 22 years since, Tamera Sheary said he has never showed remorse to her.

“Nothing,” she said. “Just anger.”

Kevin Bovenkamp, assistant secretary of the department’s Behavioral Health division, signed off on Brodahl’s move to Mind and Soul Adult Family Home on Rosewood Avenue in Everett on Jan. 12.

“Although the opinion of the PSRP is that they do not support discharge to a Less Restrictive Alternative (LRA) placement at this time, the Assistant Secretary Panel has approved the discharge plan given that the PSRP concerns have been adequately addressed by the clinical treatment team,” Bovenkamp wrote in a letter to the prosecutor’s office.

Western State Hospital declined to comment on the case Monday.

Brodahl was first civilly committed to the mental health center for a competency evaluation in February 2003, about 10 months after Brady Sheary’s death.

Under state law, the public safety panel must provide a written recommendation for any significant action related to patients who are civilly committed.

Prosecutors filed charges of second-degree murder against Brodahl in 2002, 2008 and 2016. Each time, the defendant was determined not competent enough to stand trial — and the charges were dropped in favor of civil commitment.

Prior to the panel’s review, the Snohomish County Prosecutor’s Office was notified of the hospital’s recommendation on Dec. 5, deputy prosecutor Elise Deschenes said Monday. Prosecutor Jason Cummings called the decision “premature and ill-advised” in a letter to Western State Hospital CEOs Charles Southerland and Mark Thompson.

On Monday, Deschenes said the prosecutor’s office will make a decision “shortly” on whether to refile charges against Brodahl.

In their review published Jan. 5, the state department criticized the release plan for a lack of structure in terms of mental health treatment.

Under the hospital’s plan, Brodahl was required to undergo an assessment for substance use disorder upon his release. The review panel wrote this should be completed before he was discharged.

The hospital also required the defendant to complete 40 hours of counseling. The time frame and frequency, the review panel wrote, was unclear.

Brodahl’s treatment team previously required he have a guardian assigned to supervise him prior to a change in housing, the letter read.

“Mr. Brodahl required a guardian due to being vulnerable and unable to make his own medical decisions,” the letter read. “The identified guardian is no longer an option.”

Caretakers believe Brodahl is stable enough to act as “their own decision maker,” Bovenkamp wrote.

The defendant was originally scheduled to be released into a facility in Marysville. The Everett home, however, would provide a “structured daily environment” for Brodahl to take his medications, according to the letter.

“Considering the high level of structure and oversight available under the LRA court order and the patient’s current presentation, we disagree that it is premature to transition Mr. Brodahl to a less restrictive placement,” the letter read.

Brady Sheary was brilliant and a star athlete, his mother said. This month, she fought tears while talking about late son.

“He was incredibly full of life, and he was loved by everybody,” Tamera Sheary said. “He had incredible potential. Not a day goes by that I don’t think: ‘What would he do today? What would he be doing?’”

Maya Tizon: 425-339-3434; maya.tizon@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @mayatizon.

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