Carbonado man found unable to stand trial due to mental disorder

Daniel Ray Evans is supposed to get treatment at Western State Hospital, but the waitlist is long.

Editor’s note: This article is updated from the print version with additional information concerning Evans’ admission date to Western State Hospital.

A Carbonado man accused of killing two dogs and injuring a third late September has been found not currently competent to stand trial.

According to court documents, Daniel Ray Evans, 39, stabbed his family’s German Shepherd in the early morning hours of Sept. 28 before fleeing the scene, killing a chicken along the way.

While the family and police officers left to take the dog to an emergency vet, Evans allegedly returned to the home and killed two more dogs. He was arrested later that day at his home.

Evans was charged with four counts of animal cruelty and one count of malicious mischief for the damage he allegedly caused inside the home. He was arraigned Sept. 29 and pleaded not guilty; both prosecutors and Evans’ wife asked the court for a high bail, given the threat of additional violence were he released.

Bail was first set at $20,000, but then the court ordered him to be held with no bail following a competency evaluation.

In short, the evaluation — published Oct. 25 — says Evans “merits a diagnosis of Unspecified Schizophrenia Spectrum and Other Psychotic Disorder”.

While the origins of these disorders is unknown, and the disorders are likely caused by a multitude of factors, Evans told Dr. Johnathan Sharette, a licensed psychologist with the Office of Forensic Mental Health Services, that he suffered several head injuries over his lifetime, according to court documents. This includes several motorcycle crashes — one left him comatose for 24 hours; he fell off a cliff and had to be rescued during another.

Documents also allege that while Evans was able to understand what the charges levied against him were, he “struggled” to clearly understand the court process and roles of people in the court, such as the prosecutor.

During the interview, Evans allegedly said that demons can possess him and force him to act in a certain way, or possess others; he added that he no longer needed medication due to his faith in God, and that his current situation was a test of that faith.

The Pierce County Superior Court agreed with the forensic evaluation and ordered Oct. 27 that Evans undergo competency restoration treatment as an inpatient at Western State Hospital.

“However, admissions into Western State are frequently delayed because of the hospital’s capacity issues,” said Pierce County Attorney’s Office PIO Adam Faber. “Evans is currently still at the Pierce County Jail awaiting admission to Western State.”

It could be a while before Evans receives treatment. In an Oct. 19 article, King 5 reported “record-breaking wait times” for people like him to receive services from the Department of Social and Health Services.

Currently, DSHS is supposed to provide competency evaluations with 14 days after a person with serious mental illness is first incarcerated, and start receiving treatment within another week; at present, King 5 reports the average wait time for treatment is more than four months.

A spokesperson for DSHS said Evans’s admission is scheduled for Jan. 19. 2023.

Another hearing to re-determine Evans’ competency was originally scheduled for Dec. 8; it’s since been moved to Jan. 27, 2023, but may be moved again.

Some experts warn that media reports about violence perpetrated by people diagnosed with schizophrenia reinforces the idea that people with the disorder are inherently dangerous.

Some studies claim that those with schizophrenia are 4 to 6 times more likely to commit a violent crime than the general public. However, one 2009 study (“Schizophrenia, Substance Abuse, and Violent Crime”, Journal of the American Medical Association) showed that “the association between schizophrenia and violent crime is minimal unless the patient is also diagnosed as having [a] substance abuse” disorder.

Additionally, another study (“Risks for individuals with schizophrenia who are living in the community”, PubMed), claims those with schizophrenia are 14 times more likely to be the victims of a violent crime than to be arrested for one. The study also noted that for those that were arrested, “poorer social functioning, more address changes, fewer days of taking medication at baseline, and a history of arrest and assault were significant predictors of criminal charges.”