Conditions set for Port Townsend teacher who threatened principal

Charges will be dropped if he can stay out of trouble for two years.

PORT TOWNSEND — Trespassing and harassment charges against a former Port Townsend High School teacher will be dropped if he can stay out of trouble for two years.

If James Keith Miller, 52, of Port Angeles doesn’t go within 1,000 feet of Port Townsend School District property, doesn’t break the law and maintains counseling and medication as recommended, charges from an incident at the high school will be dropped.

“I thought it was a fair resolution,” said his defense attorney, Richard Davies, adding that Miller should do fine with the conditions for getting the charges dropped.

Miller is accused of threatening to kill high school Principal Carrie Ehrhardt during a March 18 breakfast meeting at the Bayview Restaurant.

According to Ehrhardt’s written statement, Miller said she was “the [expletive] reason that I am not able to see my children and I’m going to [expletive] kill you.”

Hours after the meeting, Miller drove to the high school campus — from which he had been banned — entered his former classroom where students were present and was taken into custody by police.

Miller had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, according to court records.

During a competency evaluation April 7 conducted by representatives from Western State Hospital in Tacoma, Miller said he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder when he was 20.

The evaluation concluded that Miller has the capacity for both a factual and rational understanding of the charges against him but lacks the capacity to assist in his own defense due to a mental disorder.

He began experiencing breakthrough manic symptoms in December, at which time he stopped taking his medication, according to court documents.

At an April 8 hearing, Miller said an improper medical dosage had been a contributing factor to his actions and that his current prescription was more than 2 years old.

The evaluators said then that if Miller were tried in his current state, he would likely provide irrelevant responses while talking to his attorney or testifying and might “overestimate his chances of prevailing and increase his irritability if his attorney doesn’t meet his (possibly unrealistic) expectations.”

After the evaluation, the court ordered Miller into in-patient psychiatric treatment at Cascade Behavioral Health in Tukwila.

Once that was completed in May, the court placed him on electronic home monitoring through June.

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Reporter Jesse Major can be reached at 360-385-2335, ext. 5550, or at [email protected].

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