Crime

Man accused of fatal coffee mug blow at Lakewood home ruled incompetent to stand trial

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A man accused of killing someone with a coffee mug at an adult family home in Lakewood has been found incompetent to stand trial.

Prosecutors said John Douglas Quitorio, 64, picked up the mug and punched another man in the face with it during an argument Oct. 27 at the facility where they were both living in the 7900 block of Onyx Court Southwest.

That man, 57-year-old Timothy Alan Nitschke, later died from his injuries.

Nitschke’s daughter, Freedom Nitschke, spoke at a press conference earlier this year about behavioral health bills to restrict where the state Department of Social and Health Services can place violent offenders.

“This shouldn’t have happened,” Nitschke said. “I do not believe they (the adult family home) were equipped to handle a patient like that. My father didn’t deserve this — no one deserves this.”

Those bills were introduced by Sen. Steve O’Ban, R-University Place. They did not make it out of committee.

A spokeswoman for O’Ban said a different bill, HB 1023, passed the senate Monday with an amendment from the senator.

The bill would allow adult family homes to expand to eight beds. O’Ban’s amendment prevents those housing violent offenders from being able to do that.

Pierce County Superior Court Judge Stanley Rumbaugh dismissed the charge of second-degree murder against Quitorio April 11, according to court records. The judge found that Quitorio wasn’t able to understand the proceedings against him or to help with his defense, and that Quitorio wasn’t likely to be able to do so with further treatment.

A recent mental health evaluation filed with the court diagnosed Quitorio with schizophrenia. He’s had delusional thoughts, the report said, including about the mafia and JFK.

The court’s order dismissing the murder charge said Quitorio was to stay at Western State Hospital for several days to be evaluated for potential civil commitment to the hospital.

Alexis Krell covers local, state and federal court cases that affect Pierce County. She started covering courts in 2016. Before that she wrote about crime and breaking news for almost four years as The News Tribune’s night reporter.

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