Competency evaluation ordered for man accused of attempted murder of officer

Investigators also urge charge of first-degree murder

PORT ANGELES — Superior Court Judge Brent Basden ordered a competency exam on Friday for Bret Allen Kenney, a 34-year-old accused of attempting to kill a Sequim police officer on May 19.

A first-degree murder charge also was amended against Kenney in relation to the death of his mother, Teri Ward, according to Captain Randy Plumb with the Kitsap Critical Incident Response Team (KCIRT), which is investigating Kenney’s alleged actions.

The amended charge was not discussed in court Friday. The hearing had been scheduled for an arraignment.

Basden followed the recommendation of Kenney’s attorney John Hayden for a competency evaluation at Western State Hospital.

Days prior, Hayden told Basden, Kenney attempted to fire him.

Kenney, appearing via video on Friday, said “this attorney is lying to me about who I am in America and what they’ve been doing to me my whole life; teaching me I’m a stupid piece of s— person, as I grew up.”

Despite accusing his attorney and the judge of lying to him, he agreed to a competency evaluation.

“Do what you got to do,” he said.

Kenney said people have told him his whole life he needs medication for schizophrenia.

Chief Criminal Prosecuting Attorney Michele Devlin said it’ll take seven to 14 days for him to be evaluated.

Basden agreed to wait for the evaluation before conducting an arraignment hearing. He set Kenney’s next hearing for 1:30 p.m. June 17. He retained Hayden as Kenney’s attorney.

Basden rescinded Kenney’s bail due to his “propensity for violence.”

He was charged on May 24 with attempted second-degree murder, assault on a police officer, and disarming a police officer.

Kenney was stopped at 4:31 a.m. on May 19 driving a truck registered to his mother near the intersection of Third Avenue and Washington Street, according to court documents.

Plumb said Kenney tackled Sequim police officer Daniel Martinez. They fought and during the struggle Martinez’s weapon discharged, he said.

Residents helped Martinez along with Clallam County Sheriff deputies Jeff Pickrell and Bill Cortani.

Martinez and Kenney sustained non-life-threatening injuries and were treated and discharged from Olympic Medical Center in Port Angeles.

Plumb said at 8:40 a.m. May 19, deputies were asked to provide a welfare check in the 100 block of Senz Road where Kenney was residing.

There law enforcement found Ward deceased.

On May 26, the King County Medical Examiner’s Office conducted an autopsy on Ward’s body and determined she died of multiple sharp-force injuries to her neck, Plumb said.

He said investigators found evidence linking Kenney to the homicide.

Kenney’s criminal history also includes four prior cases of assault on police officers including assaulting one to the point of unconsciousness, and taking pepper spray from another and striking him with it. He was released from incarceration Jan. 14.

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Matthew Nash is a reporter with the Olympic Peninsula News Group, which is composed of Sound Publishing newspapers Peninsula Daily News, Sequim Gazette and Forks Forum. Reach him at [email protected].