Alexander Jay waited for nearly a year behind bars at the King County Jail before being transported on March 3 to Western State Hospital for mental health treatment.
State law, as well as federal and superior court orders mandate inmates like Jay who are deemed incompetent to stand trial due to mental illness must be moved to a state psychiatric facility within seven days. In Jay’s case, it was 299 days since King County Superior Court Judge Johanna Bender signed the order for treatment.
Jay is charged with assaulting a Harborview nurse at a Seattle light rail station in March, 2022, and then stabbing a woman at a Seattle bus stop the same day. In August, Jay was charged with murdering a man with a piece of rebar on Capitol Hill hours after assaulting the two strangers.
Jay’s case underscores a problem uncovered by the KING 5 Investigators in the series Mentally Ill, Waiting in Jail – hundreds of people with serious mental illness stuck in jails across Washington without access to trial or treatment.
The case gained more attention after Judge Bender ruled the state agency responsible for providing the psychiatric help, the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS), was in contempt of court for the delays. Bender sanctioned DSHS $250 per day for “willful failure” to “timely admit Mr. Jay to inpatient competency restoration treatment.” Bender ruled the money should be paid to Jay, with a responsible party as a custodian, until being transported to Western State.
The total for Jay added up to approximately $75,00
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