A man who started a fire at Western State Hospital isn’t competent to stand trial, a Pierce County judge decided recently.
Prosecutors charged Patrick Hayden, 50, with first-degree arson in connection to the Nov. 30 fire at the Lakewood psychiatric hospital.
Three wards were evacuated for several hours after Hayden used a lighter to burn paper in a cabinet.
Superior Court Judge Michael Schwartz found Hayden incompetent to stand trial and dismissed the case Dec. 22 after a mental health evaluation of the defendant.
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Mental illness would prevent Hayden from working with his attorney and fully understanding court proceedings, and it didn’t look as if further treatment would change that, a psychologist wrote the court.
Given that information, Schwartz ordered Hayden held at Western State, and evaluated for potential civil commitment there.
He’s had stays at the hospital as far back as 1986, according to court records, and has been charged two other times with starting fires there.
He was found incompetent to stand trial for the first fire in 2004, and pleaded guilty to a 2006 blaze, for which he was sentenced to three years, nine months in prison.
No one was hurt in any of the blazes.
Hayden found himself back at Western State in August, after he was found not incompetent to stand trial for a third-degree assault charge.