Trial delay for suspect in gruesome 2013 Lake Stevens murder

He escaped from the state psychiatric hospital nearly two years ago but was caught after a few days.

Anthony Garver (Lakewood Police Department via AP, File)

Anthony Garver (Lakewood Police Department via AP, File)

EVERETT — A murder suspect who escaped from Western State Hospital in 2016 now is not expected to stand trial until this summer.

Anthony Garver has been accused since 2013 with killing Phillipa Evans-Lopez. The 20-year-old mother was found tied to a bed in her Lake Stevens home. Her throat had been slashed and she’d been stabbed more than two dozen times.

Garver’s trial — delayed earlier by questions about his mental health and then complicated by his brief escape — was to have gotten underway Jan. 12.

Instead, it has been continued to August. Lawyers on both sides of the case agreed to the new schedule.

Garver, 30, is charged with first-degree murder. Detectives believe he met Evans-Lopez in Everett. His DNA reportedly was found on the electrical cords used to bind the victim. Her blood also was discovered on a knife seized from Garver at the time of his arrest, court papers said.

Garver made headlines around the state nearly two years ago after he and another patient slipped out of the state psychiatric hospital. He was caught a couple of days later in a wooded area near Spokane, where his mother lives.

In 2015, Snohomish County deputy prosecutor Matt Hunter was forced to dismiss the murder charge after state doctors concluded Garver was too mentally ill to assist his own lawyer. Efforts to restore his competency had failed, so Garver was civilly committed to the state hospital.

The well-planned escape ultimately worked in the favor of prosecutors. It set in motion a federal probation violation case, which included review of Garver’s mental health.

A U.S. District Court judge relied on the findings of more-recent mental health evaluation and reports from a treatment team at Western to determine Garver was competent. Among other things, the federal judge in the probation case wrote that Garver “is malingering, at least in part to avoid prosecution,” court papers said.

The defendant has remained locked up at the county jail in Everett pending trial.

Scott North: 425-339-3431; north@heraldnet.com. Twitter: @snorthnews.

Talk to us

More in Local News

Soper Hill roundabout and pedestrian trail work wraps up

Lake Stevens and Marysville worked together on the traffic infrastructure because of nearby development.

Rep. Larsen tours small businesses given federal PPP loans

The congressman said leaders in Washington D.C. continue to negotiate for further COVID-19 relief.

Deputies: ‘Abnormal strength’ led to forceful arrest in 2018

Newly released reports give Snohomish County deputies’ side in a case that’s now central to a lawsuit.

Oak Harbor Public Schools decide on plan for fall opening

Conditions which must be met for a combination of in-person education and distance learning.

Police dog nabs, nips man suspected of burgling smoke shops

Monroe police arrested a man after two smoke shops were broken into Monday morning.

Local families praise state’s online early education program

The Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program found creative ways to reach kids during COVID.

Some waited months for jobless benefits, and some wait still

Not all 81,000 cases are resolved, but some people finally received thousands of dollars in back payments.

New help during COVID: Counselors reach out with resources

Funded by the CARES Act, 10 community social workers are deployed across Snohomish County.

Latest COVID spike may have peaked in July, data shows

New numbers are a positive step forward, but some metrics are headed in the wrong direction.

Most Read