Treatment continues for Sequim man accused of killing mother

Accused needs ‘psychiatric stabilization’

SEQUIM — A Sequim man facing charges for allegedly killing his mother and attempting to kill a Sequim police officer last May will remain in Western State Hospital for continued “competency restoration” until he can possibly stand trial.

Judge Brent Basden ordered 34-year-old Bret Allen Kenney’s admission into the hospital on June 24, 2022. Kenney was admitted on Dec. 19 for “psychiatric stabilization and the development of skills to adequately participate in a legal trial,” according to court documents.

Paula Bernhard, a licensed psychologist for the state, wrote in the March 7 Inpatient Forensic Evaluation Service Competency Assessment Report that Kenney’s symptoms were improving and she had a “strong belief (his) remaining symptoms would continue to improve with medication adjustments and additional time for treatment.”

Bernhard wrote, “If the court finds Mr. Kenney is incompetent to proceed to trial and that he meets criteria for further competency restoration treatment, it is my clinical opinion there is a reasonable likelihood he would regain competency with additional pharmacological and psychosocial treatment.”

On Friday, Basden agreed to Kenney’s continued treatment and set a 1:30 p.m. April 21 status hearing in Clallam County Superior Court.

Kenney has been admitted to Western State Hospital four times, court documents state, and he was last restored to competency in 2017 after a 90-day period.

Bernhard wrote that Kenney “meets diagnostic criteria for schizophrenia” and he’s been diagnosed previously for that and disorders related to different addictions.

“Kenney appears to possess adequate factual knowledge regarding courtroom proceedings, but he presently lacks the capacity to rationally understand the nature of the proceedings against him and to assist in his own defense due to ongoing symptoms of a mental disease or defect,” she wrote.

Crimes

Kenney awaits trial for allegedly murdering his 53-year-old mother, Teri Ward of Sequim, and attempting to kill Officer Daniel Martinez during a traffic stop.

Ward was found deceased in her home on May 19 from multiple sharp-force injuries, court documents say. She was discovered when a family member requested a welfare check after they learned Kenney was arrested earlier in the day, law enforcement reported.

Kenney was pulled over at about 4:31 a.m. May 19 at the Third Avenue/Washington Street intersection, and he tackled Martinez, court documents say.

The two wrestled for the officer’s gun, which discharged, just prior to citizens and Clallam County Sheriff’s deputies helping to detain Kenney — who has four prior cases of assault on police officers — court documents state.

Kenney was released from incarceration on Jan. 14, 2022, and was living with Ward in Sequim, according to law enforcement officials.

Bernhard reported that after Kenney’s most recent incarceration, he continued to engage in “uncooperative, aggressive behaviors” in the Clallam County jail and Western State Hospital.

Some of his actions, doctors noted, included self-harm, threatening and/or abusing staff and inmates, referring to himself by other names, including “Derrick Burn,” repeatedly saying his relatives were not related to him, writing notes related to killings and physical violence, and requesting “women, drugs, body hair remover … and other unrealistic requests while here in the hospital.”

Kenney’s treating psychiatrist in early March said Kenney’s “psychotic symptoms were ‘in much better control now than at time of admission,’ and did not present as guarded during their conversations,” and that delusions remained but his medication was being increased, Bernhard wrote.

“I strongly feel with time and right medication he would improve,” the psychiatrist wrote to Bernhard in the report.

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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 mnash@sequimgazette.com.

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