SOUTH BEND, Wash. — The Ilwaco resident who stabbed three men in April will spend 17 years in state prison.
At a hearing last week in Pacific County Superior Court, Mitchell Marteeny, 51, pleaded guilty to two counts of first-degree assault with a deadly weapon and one count of second-degree assault with a deadly weapon.
The plea came after Marteeny spent several weeks undergoing treatment and evaluation for his mental illness. During the hearing, Marteeny was polite and responsive, but signs of the delusions that led him to attack his neighbors still lingered.
Marteeny was arrested in an Ilwaco apartment complex in April after he attempted to set his neighbor’s car on fire, then stabbed him. He also stabbed two men who tried to intervene. All of the men recovered from their injuries, but police said Marteeny could easily have killed them.
Marteeny attacked the men because he believed his neighbor was holding women hostage and raping them. Police paid numerous visits to Marteeny’s residence in the months before the stabbing. They never found any evidence that the neighbors were breaking the law, but Marteeny’s behavior continued to escalate.
In early June, the court ordered Marteeny to spend up to 90 days at Yakima Competency Restoration Center. The state-run facility serves mentally ill defendants who are not able to understand the nature of the court proceedings or to participate in their own defense. Residents are treated with medications and classes, then re-evaluated.
When Marteeny arrived in late June, he was cooperative, but still insisted he was a victim rather than the perpetrator in the case and described having auditory hallucinations.
A psychiatrist re-evaluated Marteeny in late August after he reported no longer believing he was a victim.
Marteeny told the psychiatrist his depression and other mental health problems intensified after his wife’s death, about one-and-a-half years before the stabbing. He acknowledged using large amounts of hallucinogens in his youth, and going through periods of intense methamphetamine use over the past 30 years. He said his meth consumption around the time of the attack contributed to his worsening mental health.
The psychiatrist concluded Marteeny suffered from paranoid beliefs, “odd social behaviors” and other symptoms possibly caused by schizophrenia or another type of delusion-inducing disorder. However, he said, it appeared that Marteeny’s symptoms clearly worsened when he smoked meth and seemed to diminish when he was sober. He determined Marteeny was able to participate in his legal case.
In court, Marteeny sat passively in his chair as his attorney, Harold Karlsvik, discussed his client’s progress under treatment.
“Mr. Marteeny is a changed person to the person I was originally assigned to,” Karlsvik said. “He is thinking rationally about this case.”
Marteeny appeared confident and lucid as he answered Superior Court Judge Doug Goelz’s questions. However, the defendant did not express remorse when Goelz asked if he wanted to say anything.
“I plead for mercy,” Marteeny replied, smiling.
“I read your file before court this morning and I can’t put the two together,” Goelz told Marteeny. “I can’t put the chaos and evil that was in your mind on the day of the offenses and the person I see in court.”
Marteeny revealed that he was still not totally in touch with reality when he told Goelz his attack “was self-defense.” Goelz told him it was important for him to take responsibility for his actions.
“I am,” Marteeny said. Goelz said he believed Marteeny understood the seriousness of his crimes, but still deserved a tough punishment.
“I think the 204 (months), along with your age make that a very serious sentence for you. I think it’s appropriate,” Goelz said.