Another delay in retrial of man accused of Jefferson County double-slaying
Michael J. Pierce
By Rob Ollikainen
Peninsula Daily News
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The delay will allow for more examination of the mental health services Michael J. Pierce, 38, of Quilcene has received in jail, it was decided Friday.
Defense attorney Richard Davies said he has requested discovery from the Jefferson County jail, the Kitsap County jail and its contracted medical provider regarding the mental health treatment Pierce has received while in custody.
“I had hoped to be a whole lot further along in the discovery, but it’s taking longer than I imagined it would to get copies of medical records,” Davis said after the hearing in Port Orchard.
Presiding Judge Sally Olsen stopped Pierce’s second double-murder retrial last month after learning that Pierce suffered auditory hallucinations during testimony March 10.
Psychiatrists said Pierce couldn’t understand the proceedings because Kitsap County jailers had cut off his anti-psychotic medications, which prompted the mistrial.
“I want to get to the bottom of it, then make a motion to dismiss, but only if there are grounds,” Davies said.
Chris Ashcraft, Jefferson County chief deputy criminal attorney, was not immediately available for comment Friday.
Pierce is accused of shooting Pat and Janice Yarr before setting their home on fire March 18, 2009.
He was convicted in Jefferson County Superior Court in 2010, but the state Court of Appeals overturned the conviction for procedural errors in law enforcement interrogations.
A mistrial was declared during a second trial in Port Townsend last year after a juror stated she might have seen Pierce on the night of the murders.
A third trial was begun in Kitsap County Superior Court. Dr. Richard Yocum of Western State Hospital testified that the lack of medication caused Pierce to hear voices like a “radio playing in the back of his head.”
Olsen declared the mistrial March 21.
Pierce was then transferred from Port Orchard back to the Jefferson County jail in Port Hadlock.
Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5072, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last modified: April 19. 2014 6:27PM