Sequim woman to pursue insanity or diminished capacity defense

PORT ANGELES — A Sequim woman who is charged with the attempted murder of her neighbor will pursue an insanity or diminished capacity defense, her attorney said.

Larisa Jean Dietz, 48, is charged with attempted second-degree murder and first-degree assault in connection with the Oct. 8 stabbing of Ricky Lynn McGowan at the Sunbelt Apartments in Sequim.

She had maintained her innocence.

A forensic mental health report dated Nov. 6 found that Dietz had a history of post-traumatic stress disorder, major depression and bipolar disorder but was competent to stand trial.

In a Friday court hearing, defense attorney Karen Unger said she would arrange for defense psychiatrist Dr. Kenneth Muscatel to meet with Dietz and prepare a report on her client’s mental capacity at the time of the alleged stabbing.

“We intend to rely on either an insanity or a diminished capacity defense,” Unger told Superior Court Judge Lauren Erickson.

Erickson scheduled another status hearing for 9 a.m. this Friday.

Sequim police alleged that Dietz stabbed the 58-year-old McGowan in his apartment Oct. 8.

Both charges against Dietz contained deadly weapon enhancements and the special allegation that McGowan was a vulnerable victim.

Police said Dietz and McGowan were dating prior to the stabbing. McGowan has since died.

Dietz rejected a plea offer from the state in January. She is being held in the Clallam County jail on $1 million bail.

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Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56450, or at rollikainen@peninsuladailynews.com.