The trial for the Amanda Park man accused of killing a 46-year-old man and injuring a 12-year-old in Chehalis in December will be delayed to January 2023, a Lewis County Superior Court judge decided Thursday.
The trial had been scheduled to begin Aug. 15.
Both the defense and prosecution agreed to delay the trial in order to give both parties adequate time to have the defendant, Billy J. Bartlett, 30, reviewed by mental health experts.
Bartlett’s attorney, Christopher Baum, informed the court Dec. 30 that Bartlett intends to use insanity as a defense and confirmed that intent before the court on June 23.
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.”
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.
Baum is still waiting for the final report from that medical expert, Baum said during a Thursday hearing.
The prosecution also intends to have Bartlett’s mental health evaluated by its own private expert prior to trial, Prosecutor Jonathan Meyer said Thursday.
After hearing from both parties Thursday, Judge J. Andrew Toynbee found good cause to delay the trial to Jan. 23, 2023.
A review hearing to ensure the case is on track for that January trial date is scheduled for Sept. 15. Trial confirmation is scheduled for Jan. 19.
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 the victim, William A. Foster III, of Tacoma, 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.