Port Angeles man pleads insanity in shooting

PORT ANGELES — A Port Angeles man charged with shooting at his neighbor and a Clallam County sheriff’s deputy in July 2018 has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity.

Derek Dwayne Darling, 41, was ordered to undergo a psychiatric evaluation after his Friday arraignment in Clallam County Superior Court.

Darling is charged with first-degree assault with a firearm and second-degree assault with a deadly weapon in connection with a mid-day incident at his Mountain Home Road residence southeast of Port Angeles on July 24, 2018.

Clallam County Superior Court Judge Lauren Erickson scheduled Friday a two-week trial for Darling beginning Dec. 2.

Darling was being held Wednesday in the Clallam County jail on $250,000 bail.

The Clallam County Sheriff’s Office alleged in court papers that Darling shot at his neighbor from 300 feet away and threatened a deputy.

Law enforcement said Darling fired at least eight rifle shots at his neighbor and his neighbor’s house.

The man’s face was bloodied by shattered glass, according to the affidavit for probable cause.

At least one bullet fired by Darling glanced off the man’s propane tank, authorities said.

Darling alleged pointed the rifle at Deputy Bill Cortani, who drew his sidearm, retreated behind his vehicle and identified himself before Darling lowered his weapon, the probable cause statement said.

Cortani and fellow Deputy Paul Federline handcuffed Darling after he resisted arrest, law enforcement said.

Darling was found incompetent to stand trail August 2018 after a mental health evaluation determined he met the criteria for schizophrenia, court papers said.

Darling was ordered by the court to take psychotropic medication to restore his competency.

He was found competent to stand trial in March.

According to a mental health evaluation described in a March 26 report, “Symptoms associated with [Darling’s] mental illness decreased in intensity, and he was able to talk realistically about his family relationships and the circumstances of the case.”

Darling’s case had been in a holding pattern in recent months while defense attorney John Hayden prepared a mental health defense.

A pre-trial status conference is set for Oct. 18.


Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56450, or at [email protected] peninsuladailynews.com.

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