Hospital will evaluate stabbing suspect — (The Oregonian)

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The Oregonian

Saturday, April 29, 2006

HOLLEY GILBERT

Court – The judge orders a competency exam of a man accused of killing a McDonald’s employee

VANCOUVER — A Vancouver man accused in last week’s stabbing death of a 17-year-old McDonald’s worker will be sent to Western State Hospital for a mental evaluation to determine whether he is competent to stand trial.

David Barton Sullivan, 28, was scheduled to be arraigned Friday in Clark County Superior Court on a charge of first-degree murder, but he did not enter a plea. Instead, Tom Ladouceur, Sullivan’s attorney, asked that his client be sent to the state hospital near Tacoma for an evaluation to determine whether he understands the nature of the proceedings and can assist in his defense.

Deputy Prosecutor John Fairgrieve agreed and asked Judge John F. Nichols to set bail for Sullivan at $1 million, which Nichols did. []

Sullivan is accused in the April 20 death of Anna Svidersky, who was sitting at a table in the Vancouver McDonald’s on her break when she was stabbed in the chest and arm with a kitchen knife just after 8 p.m. She was taken to Legacy Emanuel Hospital & Health Center, where she died an hour later.

If convicted, Sullivan could face 25 to 32 years in prison.

Sullivan is a Level II sex offender with a history of mental illness.

Outside the courtroom, Fairgrieve said Sullivan will be held in the Clark County Jail until the state hospital has space to take him for a 15-day evaluation. He then will return to Clark County for a competency hearing.

If Nichols finds Sullivan competent, the case will proceed to trial, Fairgrieve said. If the judge finds he is not competent, he could be returned to the state hospital for a 90-day period to try to restore competency. Sullivan can be sent to Western State for a second 90-day period if needed.

Shortly after Sullivan was taken into custody near the Andresen Road restaurant, he was interviewed by Detective Jane Scott of the Vancouver police. Sullivan said he was taking Prozac, an antidepressant, and Risperdal, an antipsychotic used to treat schizophrenia and other disorders, according to Scott’s search warrant affidavit.

Sullivan acknowledged he went to the restaurant and said he had “stabbed somebody” there with a butcher knife that was “deadly, deadly,” according to the affidavit.

According to the affidavit, Sullivan “gave no indication of how this female victim was selected, but (said) she was ‘just sitting there, minding her own business.’ ”

The document also included witnesses’ accounts of the attack.

One co-worker told police that he saw a man wearing a heavy winter coat approach Anna from the back of the dining area with his right hand drawn up inside the sleeve, the affidavit said. He saw the man extend his right hand, expose the knife and stab Anna in the left side of the chest, it said.

Anna jumped up and yelled, then “managed to jump over a condiment counter in an attempt to get away from the suspect,” the worker told police. “The suspect attempted to stab her again,” he said, but when Anna fell to the floor, the man walked out the door, the affidavit said.

Meanwhile, a communitywide effort Thursday — based at the Andresen Road McDonald’s and including matches from area McDonald’s and the company’s Illinois headquarters — raised nearly $90,000 for Anna’s mother, Esther; younger brother, Peter; and two younger sisters, Christina and Elizabeth. Clark County McDonald’s will continue to offer donation canisters for about a month.