EVERETT — The murder charge against a homeless man accused of fatally kicking another transient near the Everett Gospel Mission is on hold after a state psychologist determined that the defendant is too sick to assist his lawyer.
A Snohomish County Superior Court judge Tuesday ordered Joshua Thompson to be admitted to a state psychiatric hospital for restoration treatment.
Thompson is accused of kicking Juan Gonzales in the head Sept. 25. Witnesses reported that the defendant was angry that Gonzalez was lying on his mattress.
Gonzales, 47, was living on the street, part of a population that frequents Smith Avenue near the Everett Gospel Mission. His last conscious moments were captured on a controversial security camera set up by a business owner trying to draw attention to criminal activity on that stretch of road.
The live-stream video isn’t recorded but people have taken to saving clips and uploading them online.
“The videos are generally treated as a source of entertainment by those who post comments,” Snohomish County deputy prosecutor Andrew Alsdorf wrote in court papers.
Viewers had given Gonzales a derogatory nickname. But a witness told police he was “one of the nicest guys down there.”
Thompson allegedly told officers he didn’t feel right about Gonzales touching his belongings or his land, Alsdorf wrote.
He denied kicking the victim. Instead, he said he tapped Gonzales with his ankle. He also told police Gonzales had asked in the past to be kicked. On this occasion, he said the victim had “telepathically” asked to be kicked.
Thompson, a veteran of the U.S. Navy, has been found incompetent to stand trial seven different times in criminal cases dating back to 2009. Yet, a state psychologist determined last year that Thompson was well enough to assist his lawyer in an assault case.
The psychologist, however, noted that Thompson “has a major mental disorder that is long-standing in duration and which receives inadequate treatment in the community. The nature of his symptoms brings him into inevitable contact with legal authorities.”
In the recent evaluation, Thompson was once again diagnosed with schizophrenia and substance abuse.
The evaluator concluded that Thompson generally understands how court proceedings work but “due to his mental disorder lacks the capacity to assist in his own defense.” His disordered and delusional thoughts likely would impede his ability to effectively communicate with his lawyer, the Oct. 20 report said.
The lawyers Tuesday agreed to meet again Dec. 1 to make sure Thompson has been admitted to Western State Hospital. Long wait times have plagued the hospital for years and have been at the heart of a federal civil rights lawsuit.
Judge Ellen Fair also said she is concerned that Thompson isn’t taking his medication in jail. The evaluator noted that Western staff will no longer participate in pre-admission hearings to determine if an ill inmate should be forcibly medicated. The hospital cited a lack of resources, according to the report.
It’s an issue if the hospital doesn’t transport him in timely manner and he remains untreated in the jail, the judge said.
“We’ll deal with that when we come to it,” Fair said.
Diana Hefley: 425-339-3463; firstname.lastname@example.org.