Machias man accused of killing his mother ruled competent

EVERETT — The prosecution of a man accused of stabbing his parents and setting their Machias home on fire will move forward now that state psychologists have concluded that he is well enough to assist with his own defense.

A judge on Thursday scheduled Zachary Konicke’s trial for Nov. 4.

Konicke is accused of killing his mother and assaulting his father. Prosecutors also allege that Konicke lit the family home on fire during the Jan. 14 attack. He is charged with first-degree murder and arson. Konicke remains jailed on $1 million bail.

An earlier evaluation raised questions whether Konicke, 30, had the capacity to understand the charges against him. A forensic mental health evaluation was completed this month. A judge on Thursday signed an agreed competency order.

Konicke may suffer from a yet diagnosed mental illness, but during the Aug. 2 evaluation he didn’t show any symptoms that interfered with his ability to assist his attorney, according to the report.

He continued to believe in a spiritual world, the psychologists noted. “There was no indication his spiritual beliefs were interfering with his decision regarding his understanding of the charges against him, his decision making, or that they would interfere with his ability to testify relevantly should he choose to do so,” the psychologists wrote.

Konicke told detectives that his dad was possessed by demons in the past.

Police also were told that Konicke’s behavior in the days leading up to the attack was odd. He had shaved his body and doused himself with gasoline. He’d been voluntarily admitted to a King County hospital for a short time. His parents took him in after he was released.

Investigators also learned that Konicke was a regular user of hallucinogenic drugs, including mushrooms and Ecstasy. He admitted to using drugs in the days before his family home burned down.

Konicke “noted he still believed forces were involved …. He indicated he did not believe it was drugs because of the minimal drug use that he felt occurred prior to the alleged offense,” according to the report.

The defendant’s father, Michael Konicke, 58, told investigators his son suddenly attacked the couple with knives, and then set the house on fire. He was repeatedly stabbed and slashed while trying to disarm his son and stop the flames from spreading, deputy prosecutor Francesca Yahyavi wrote in Snohomish County Superior Court papers.

Deputies were alerted to problems at the home that evening by a series of 911 calls. The first call reported how Zachary Konicke had taken a car without permission. A few hours later a call came in that he’d returned home with the vehicle and was “terrorizing” his parents with a knife. Minutes later, dispatchers were told that he’d set the home on fire.

The blaze began in a pile of firewood, wrapping paper and encyclopedias. It likely took about 15 minutes from the time the materials were set alight for combustion gases to “flashover,” spreading flame throughout the house.

When crews arrived, Zachary Konicke was found outside the burning home. He had a broken heel from jumping from an upper story of the home.

A deputy tried to get inside to search for survivors. He was able to pull a dog from the burning home but was driven out by flames and smoke. Michael Konicke was found outside the house, bleeding and burned.

His wife, Vicki, 58, didn’t survive. Her body was recovered from inside. One of her beloved dogs died near her feet.

Zachary Konicke required hospital treatment for injuries he sustained in the fire. He asked to speak with the deputy and allegedly asked whether his mother’s body had been found, Yahyavi wrote.

The psychologist noted this month that Konicke became upset when he spoke about his mother.

Diana Hefley: 425-339-3463; hefley@heraldnet.com.

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