Michael LaRosa, a 28-year-old diagnosed paranoid schizophrenic who in 2010 was charged with murdering two people with a hatchet, was found not guilty of the crime last week by reason of insanity - ordered instead to stay at Western State Hospital, where he's been since his arrest.
According to the Seattle Times, court documents filed in the case contend LaRosa attacked and killed 58-year-old Joseph LaMagno on Capitol Hill on Nov. 22, 2010 because he believed LaMagno gave his sister herpes, and a day later killed 64-year-old Dale Richard Holme in the International District because he believed Holme had given him a cigarette poisoned with gasoline.
As we noted on The Daily Weekly at the time, the murder of LaMagno occurred in broad daylight, as the Times reports "in full view of schoolchildren, people on the street and a Metro bus full of passengers, prosecutors said."
More from the Times:
LaRosa told police that he believed that LaMagno told him, "I gave your sister herpes, without having it," according to criminal charges.
Three months after the killing of LaMagno police arrested LaRosa for Holme's murder. Originally, investigators believed Holme's head injuries may have been caused by a fall from a loading dock near where he was found. It wasn't until an autopsy was performed that police linked the two murders.
From the Times:
When homicide investigators talked to LaRosa about Holme's slaying, LaRosa said he thought that Holme had given him a cigarette poisoned with gasoline, according to charging documents.
LaRosa said that he "felt like I had to defend myself" against Holme, so he pulled out the hatchet and struck the man "up to five times" in the head, charges said. After the attack, LaRosa put the weapon in his backpack and "casually walked away," charging paperwork said.
As the Times also notes, prosecutors in the case say DNA from LaMagno and Holme was found on LaRosa's hatchet.
Family members have said LaRosa was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia more than 10 years ago and had a habit of not taking his meds. He'd been a patient at Sound Mental Health on Capitol Hill, and was also enrolled in Seattle Mental Health Court, an outfit that gets mentally ill patients while their court cases are in progress.