Insanity Defense Likely for Suspect Accused of Fatally Stabbing Man, Injuring Child in Chehalis, Attorney Says 


A doctor’s evaluation of Billy J. Bartlett, who is accused of killing a 46-year-old man and injuring a 12-year-old in Chehalis in December, has determined Bartlett has cause to use insanity as a defense, according to his attorney. 

Bartlett, 30, of Amanda Park, is scheduled to face trial on Aug. 5 for the murder of William A. Foster III, of Tacoma, and the assault of a 12-year-old. However, his attorney informed the court Wednesday morning that he anticipates Bartlett’s case will be resolved without going to trial. 

“My doctor is of the opinion that my client has an insanity defense here, so I don’t anticipate this going to trial,” Baum said during a hearing in Lewis County Superior Court on Thursday.

To use insanity as a defense, Washington state law requires defendants to prove their mind was “affected” by a “mental disease or defect” to the extent that, at the time of the alleged offense, they were “unable to perceive the nature or quality of the act” they have been charged with or were “unable to tell right from wrong with reference to the particular act charged.”

Baum filed a notice in court on Dec. 30 stating Bartlett possibly intends to use insanity as a defense. After a competency evaluation completed by Western State Hospital in January determined Bartlett was mentally capable of standing trial, Baum arranged for a private medical expert to evaluate Bartlett. 

Bartlett has pleaded not guilty to one count each of first-degree murder, first-degree assault of a child and first-degree burglary. 

He was arrested while allegedly trying to break into an apartment building in the 100 block of Northeast Boistfort Street sometime after 8:38 p.m. on Dec. 21 after law enforcement identified him as the suspect in a stabbing that occurred in the 600 block of North National Avenue earlier that evening. 

Bartlett reportedly approached Foster III while he was in a van at a gas pump with his two children, a 12-year-old and a 4-year-old, and asked Foster for a cigarette before allegedly stabbing Foster and injuring the 12-year-old.

Bartlett reportedly walked away from the van and Foster started driving the van away from the gas pump. The car ultimately came to rest outside the nearby Ocean Sky Restaurant, where officers found them after they were called to the scene at 7:47 p.m.

Both Foster and the 12-year-old were transported to Providence Centralia Hospital, where Foster died from his injuries.

Coroner Warren McLeod has since determined Foster’s cause of death to be internal bleeding due to multiple stab wounds and the manner of death as homicide.

Bartlett is being held at the Lewis County Jail without bail until further notice.

The case was initially scheduled to go to trial on April 4, but the trial was pushed to August in order to give Baum time to schedule an evaluation with his expert. 

An omnibus hearing is currently scheduled for July 14 in anticipation of the Aug. 5 trial date.