Trial in Alderwood robbery on hold again

EVERETT — It’s been almost a year since a Snohomish couple was robbed at Alderwood mall, but so far the criminal case against the suspect has been put on hold.

During the past year state doctors have determined that Joshua Rockwell is unable to assist in his own defense. A Snohomish County judge on Thursday again found that Rockwell isn’t competent to stand trial.

She ordered Rockwell to be held for another six months at Western State Hospital. The judge also gave hospital staff the authority to force Rockwell to take medications if he refuses.

Rockwell has been living with schizophrenia.

The case against him can’t move forward until a judge is convinced that Rockwell understands the allegations against him and can assist his lawyers in defending against those allegations.

He is charged with first-degree robbery for the Aug. 18, 2010 Lynnwood hold-up. Prosecutors allege that Rockwell pulled a knife on a husband and wife in the mall parking lot and ran off with the woman’s leather pocketbook.

The pair had gone to the mall to celebrate part of their 60th wedding anniversary.

Lynnwood police arrested Rockwell a few days later. Detectives said Rockwell was identified through surveillance video that captured a man running through the parking lot.

For the last year Rockwell has been locked up at Western State Hospital. He could remain there if doctors are unable to restore his competency in the next six months.

Prosecutors likely would drop the charge against Rockwell and move to have him committed to the hospital indefinitely. If his competency is ever restored, the charge could be refiled, Snohomish County deputy prosecutor Mara Rozzano said.

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

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