The court case ended April 26 with Jared P. T. Standley, the son of victims Steven and Theresa Standley, pleading not guilty by reason of insanity, and though acquitted, has been sentenced to spend an undetermined amount of time in a mental health facility for care and treatment.
According to police and court documents, Pierce County deputies were called for a welfare check at a home on 162nd Street East in Buckley on March 14, 2018.
Deputies approached the home and saw a bullet hole through the stained glass on the front door. Immediately inside the home was Steven, who was shot in the head. Further inside, Theresa appeared to have been beaten to death.
Standley’s brother, who called for the welfare check, said Standley had been kicked out a week previous, but he had just received a call from Steven that Standley suddenly came back to the home.
“Steven was concerned and told [the brother] to call 911 if he did not hear back from Steven in 15 minutes,” the police report read.
The brother immediately called Standley, who said he was just leaving the home to get some cigarettes and hung up.
Deputies located Standley’s rental car at the Comfort Inn in Tumwater. Standley attempted to drive away but was shot in the shoulder and taken into custody, where he admitted to killing his parents.
After his arrest, Standley was evaluated by mental health staff on multiple occasions, and they found he had developed a “severe mental disorder” and was “acutely mentally ill,” and Standley was sent to the Western State Hospital in July 2018.
According to forensic psychological evaluations, Standley was hearing voices and had myriad delusions about his life and family, including that the victims were not his parents and these strangers were gang members in a drug cartel, that his real birth mother was kidnapped by a rival gang, and that he was going to be kidnapped, tortured, and executed in the near future.
“Due to his acute and florid psychotic disorder, it is likely Mr. Standley was legally insane at the time of killing his parents,” Dr. Kenneth Muscatel, Ph.D., wrote in his April 2019 evaluation report, adding Standley likely suffers from an unspecified schizophrenic or other psychotic disorder.
After a 90-day stay, the court determined Standley was competent enough to continue with court proceedings.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, between a quarter and two-thirds of a percent of the U.S. population can be diagnosed with schizophrenia or a related psychotic disorder.
Despite its low prevalence, however, many mental health professionals say there is much stigma and misunderstanding around the disease among the general public, and media attention on crimes committed by people with schizophrenia only exacerbate the issue.
According to a 2011 study published by the U.S. National Institutes of Health’s National Library of Medicine, titled “Violence and Schizophrenia,” those with the disease are 14 times more likely to be the victim of a crime than to be the perpetrator.