Crime

Judge rules Thurston County man must go back to Western State

A Thurston County man facing felony harassment charges will once again be sent to Western State Hospital, 278 days after his initial arrest.

The 90 days of treatment will be Farokh Jalil-Al-Ghadr’s third stint in the Department of Social and Health Services psychiatric hospital, and the second attempt at mental health treatment that would make him competent to stand trial. He has already spent three times the maximum sentence in jail for his crime.

Jalil-Al-Ghadr was arrested in November 2015, and is charged with one count of felony harassment, threats to kill. The charge stems from alleged threats he made toward a Roundtable Pizza employee in Lacey.

Thurston County Superior Court Judge James Dixon signed the order for treatment during a Friday court hearing, at the urging of Deputy Prosecutor Olivia Zhou. He said the history of the case leads him to believe that Jalil-Al-Ghadr could become competent to stand trial.

State law allows him to dismiss the case only if he believes that Jalil-Al-Ghadr would never be found competent.

“The state has an obligation to apply the facts of the law,” Dixon said. “That is what this case is all about.”

He also said that Jalil-Al-Ghadr having served more than three times the maximum sentence for his alleged crime had no bearing on his decision.

Dixon said he took into account the fact that Jalil-Al-Ghadr had been found competent last time he underwent competency restoration treatment — that time, 45 days — at Western State Hospital. However, Jalil-Al-Ghadr was again found incompetent about a month later.

The judge said he took into account the severity of the alleged crime, and read out loud in court some of Jalil-Al-Ghadr’s alleged comments to police regarding the restaurant employee.

According to court records, he told the police officer, “I was going to kill him. I was going to snap his neck with my bare hands. I never lie. Honest to God, I was going to kill him. That is what I came over to do today, but did not.

“I will return again and again until I kill him. I never lie. Honest to God, I am going to kill him.”

Dixon said he believes the allegations, and the impact on the victim of Jalil-Al-Ghadr’s alleged actions, had been largely forgotten amid discussions of competency and the amount of time he has already spent in jail.

“Those allegations seem to be lost here,” Dixon said. “But those allegations are not lost to the court.”

Public Defender Andrew Yi has urged the court to take different action in the case. Because his client already has served more than 90 days in jail — the maximum sentence Jalil-Al-Ghadr could serve if convicted of felony harassment — he believes the charges should be dismissed and that a civil committal should instead be pursued.

A mental health professional would have to find that Jalil-Al-Ghadr is a danger to himself or others for that to work.

Zhou told the court Friday that she emailed Dr. Judith Kirkeby, who conducted Jalil-Al-Ghadr’s last competency evaluation on July 19. She asked the psychologist about the likelihood of Jalil-Al-Ghadr being civilly committed.

She said Kirkeby replied that while it’s impossible to say for sure without a civil evaluation, she thought it unlikely that he would qualify for a civil commitment.

Zhou asked the judge not to dismiss the charge. She said that that’s not what the victim in the case wants.

However, she acknowledged that Jalil-Al-Ghadr wouldn’t qualify for any kind of probation or Department of Corrections supervision if convicted.

Thurston County Prosecutor Jon Tunheim previously told The Olympian that he would like for there to be some kind of probation or supervision in place upon the defendant's release. Zhou said that is no longer possible, thanks to a change in state statute.

Yi told the court that he worried it will take several weeks for his client to be sent for competency restoration treatment. He said he obtained a list of people waiting for treatment at Western State, with wait times current as of Aug. 8

He said one person had been waiting 76 days for a bed.

Amelia Dickson: 360-754-5445

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