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August 6, 2014 at 12:12 PM

Seattle man accused in ax killings to undergo evaluation

A 45-year-old Seattle man accused of killing his mother and stepfather with an ax last month is being sent to Western State Hospital to undergo a mental-health evaluation.

The order for the competency evaluation postponed this morning’s arraignment for Richard Parenteau Jr., 45, who is charged with two counts of first-degree murder. He is being held in the King County Jail in lieu of $5 million bail.

Once he’s admitted to Western State, the evaluation could take up to 15 days, according to the order.

A competency hearing is currently scheduled for Aug. 25 when a judge could decide whether Parenteau is competent to stand trial.

Parenteau had been involuntarily committed for mental-health issues several times over the past 1½ years and had made a number of documented threats to kill family members, police and neighbors, according to the probable-cause statement outlining the police case against him.

Just before 6:30 a.m. July 19, a pedestrian called 911 to report finding a body near Eighth Avenue South and South Portland Street on the Duwamish Waterway, the statement says. Police identified the body as that of Parenteau’s stepfather, David Wells, 69, according to the statement.

Based on the injuries to his head, detectives determined that he’d been killed elsewhere, and crime-scene investigators found a blood trail that extended “just two short blocks,” the statement says.

After identifying Wells, detectives went to his house in the 700 block of South Southern Street, which is five blocks south of where the body was found, the statement says. Detectives obtained a search warrant and found Parenteau inside the house, the statement says.

While detectives were serving the search warrant, a second person called 911 to report finding a woman’s body under the First Avenue South bridge, according to the statement. It was determined the body was that of Linda Parenteau, 70, the mother of the suspect.

According to charging documents, the victims were killed with an ax.

A next-door neighbor told The Seattle Times that Parenteau would often scream obscenities, talk jibberish to himself and throw punches in the air.

Patty Engrissei, who has lived in an apartment next door to Wells and Linda Parenteau for a decade, said a SWAT team had been called to the house at least three times in the past two years.

“He was like a ticking time bomb,” she said of Parenteau.

Comments | More in The Blotter | Topics: homicide, King County Prosecuting Attorney's Office, mental health evaluation


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