Steven Well, Insane or Just Hates Landlords? A Court to Decide

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There are a few facts that no one is arguing when it comes to Steven Well: one, that he brutally stabbed to death his 64-year-old landlord, Judith Garcia; two, that he viciously assaulted another landlady back in 1980; and three, that he's been in and out of mental institutions for much of his life. So why is he still in court and not in the darkest cell in Washington State Penitentiary?

It's because a Snohomish County court is still deciding whether the 59-year-old was legally insane when he killed Garcia, or if he's just a violent man with a thing against landlords.

Well is charged with second-degree murder in the July 18 slaying of Garcia. He stabbed her about two dozen times while in the foyer of the Edison Apartments in Everett.

On Friday, a judge ordered further psychiatric tests for the man.

Well has 30-year history of mental illness as a chronic schizophrenic and has spent about 20 years locked up at a state hospital.

His stint there began in the early '80s after he attacked his landlady at the time. He avoided prison when a judge ruled he was indeed insane. And several years later he was released to a group home

Soon after, however, he found himself back in the mental hospital after he attacked a housemate at the home with a hammer in 1988.

While he was in the hospital, the man apparently fought hard against his his first conviction. And in 2001, an appeals court agreed and threw it out over flaws with how a plea hearing was handled.

Prosecutors then got Well to admit the 1980 attack again, but he was acquitted for being legally insane and released under the conditions that he take his meds, go to therapy and find a stable place to live.

He did so for quite a while, but between December of 2008 and the murder of Garcia in July of this year, he stopped filing his checkup paperwork with the court.

Well's lawyers are once again claiming that he's crazy and can't be held accountable, despite an opinion from Washington state doctors that he's perfectly fit to stand trial.

He'll be back in court Nov. 12.

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