Chadwick found incompetent to proceed in assault case

Assault charges dismissed against man accused of stabbing family members

By Jessica Prokop, Columbian Courts Reporter

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Assault charges were dismissed Wednesday against Marvin Chadwick, who allegedly stabbed three family members with a hunting knife in January in rural north Clark County, because he is not competent to proceed in his case.

Mental health evaluators at Western State Hospital found that Chadwick, 71, suffers from dementia and “lacks the capacity to understand the nature of the proceedings against him and the capacity to assist in his own defense,” according to a June report.

Because he was found incompetent, the Superior Court case against him was dismissed. He will now be evaluated to determine whether he should be civilly committed or released.

Chadwick was facing three counts of first-degree domestic violence assault for allegedly stabbing his sister-in-law, niece and her husband. He told Clark County sheriff’s deputies that he was upset because he believed his family was stealing his belongings, such as cans of soup, and had disabled his truck and refused to take him to the store or doctor appointments, according to an affidavit of probable cause.

The assault occurred Jan. 10 at Chadwick’s brother’s residence, 4017 N.E. 425th St., about 7 miles east of Woodland. All three victims — Delorse Chadwick, Lori Garoutte and Timothy Garoutte — suffered lacerations to their abdomens and were transported to an area hospital, the affidavit states. The sheriff’s office described the injuries as not life-threatening. Deputies recovered a knife with a 6- to 8-inch blade at the scene, court records said.

“It is a very sad situation all around. I feel a great amount of empathy for the victims, because this was obviously a terrifying ordeal for them. It understandably puts them in a very difficult position if this person isn’t committed and gets released on the streets,” Deputy Prosecutor Luka Vitasovic said in a phone interview.

The family can file for civil protection orders against Chadwick, if they desire, Vitasovic said.

He added that he will be following up to see if Chadwick is civilly committed.

On Feb. 7, the court ordered that Chadwick be admitted to Western State Hospital for up to 90 days for an evaluation and to restore his competency.

During his time there, he told a psychiatrist that he believes his family held him hostage and fed him “poison food — which smelled like nicotine.” And mentioned on another occasion that his family was trying to kill him with nicotine through the microwave he used to heat his food, the report states.

Chadwick has little known history of mental health treatment, but he told evaluators he’s struggled with severe alcohol abuse, on and off, since the 1970s. His family told investigators at the time of the incident that Chadwick suffers from untreated schizophrenia and paranoia, but he had never been physically violent before, court records show.

In working with Chadwick, evaluators found that Chadwick displayed significant confusion and wasn’t aware of the current month, where he was or how long he had been hospitalized, the report states. Western State Hospital determined that Chadwick’s competency cannot be restored.