Suspect ruled competent for trial in home-invasion killing

Christopher Yacono, who has a history of mental illness and drug use, has pleaded not guilty.

Christopher D. Yacono (Washington State Department of Corrections)

Christopher D. Yacono (Washington State Department of Corrections)

EVERETT — A man accused of killing a stranger during a home invasion in Mountlake Terrace has been found competent to stand trial.

Christopher D. Yacono, 29, of Arlington, understands the charges against him and the potential consequences, a Snohomish County judge was told.

Yacono said the outcome of his case should be, “Not guilty. I didn’t do it,” according to a psychologist’s report.

“Asked to explain, he said, ‘Because I don’t want the death penalty or (to) sit in prison for the rest of my life.’”

Earlier this month, a judge accepted the psychologist’s findings and said the case can proceed.

Yacono is charged with first-degree murder. He has been in the Snohomish County Jail since the April 16 attack.

Prosecutors say Yacono kicked down Marta Haile’s front door and assaulted her, including hitting her in the head with a cooking pot. Haile, 31, was pregnant. She and the baby both died.

Yacono pleaded not guilty Aug. 13. Bail was maintained at $1 million.

Yacono lives with bipolar schizoaffective disorder and also has a history of drug use, according to new court records. He said he was using methamphetamine, among other drugs, while living in a clean and sober house before his arrest.

He was not taking the prescribed medications for his mental illness, the judge was told. Yacono had last received mental health services April 12, just four days before the homicide.

Yacono told the psychologist that in the past he has heard voices and had delusions about the devil, the rapture and the apocalypse.

If convicted as charged, Yacono faces life in prison under the state’s persistent-offender or “three strikes” law. He has previous felony convictions for assault, arson and cyberstalking. Trial is scheduled to start next month.

Rikki King: 425-339-3449; rking@heraldnet.com. Twitter: @rikkiking.

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