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October 28, 2011 at 12:04 PM

Mental evaluation ordered for physician accused of murder

Dr. Louis Chen, the physician accused of killing his partner and their 2-year-old son in August, will undergo a 15-day mental-health evaluation at Western State Hospital.

The evaluation was requested by King County prosecutors during a hearing this morning in King County Superior Court.

Chen’s partner, Eric Cooper, 29, and Cooper Chen were found dead Aug. 11 in the couple’s First Hill penthouse apartment. Prosecutors allege Chen may have used as many as five knives to stab and slash the two victims more than 100 times.

Chen, 39, has been charged with two counts of aggravated first-degree murder. The crime is punishable by either the death penalty or life in prison without parole. Prosecutors have until Nov. 27 to decide whether to seek the death penalty.

Chen was to begin work at Virginia Mason Medical Center on Aug. 15. After he failed to appear for an orientation on Aug. 11 and Chen’s sister called the hospital asking about him, a hospital representative went to Chen’s apartment. She found Chen nude, semiconscious and covered in dried blood, according to charging documents.

Police responded and found the bodies of the two victims. They died sometime on Aug. 10, the King County Medical Examiner’s Office said.

In the days and weeks before the slayings, Eric Cooper had complained that an alcohol-fueled Chen became increasingly agitated, hostile and paranoid about their plans to end the relationship, according to a man who described himself as Cooper’s friend.

Comments | More in The Blotter | Topics: homicide, Seattle, stabbing

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