KENNEWICK — Five months after he being ordered to take his schizophrenia medication, a Richland murder suspect is ready to face criminal charges, say state psychologists.
Eastern State Hospital medical officials believe that Aaron Christopher Kelly’s condition is in partial remission and he can stand trial in Benton County.
But his attorneys dispute that he’s mentally healthy enough to help in his defense and plan to argue that before a Tri-Cities judge next month.
Kelly, 40, is charged with first-degree murder in the killing of an Instacart worker, Justin Krumbah, inside the Richland Fred Meyer store in February 2022. He’s also accused of wounding a store employee.
One of his attorneys, Karla Kane, said a hearing is needed for a judge to determine whether Kelly can face trial for murder and attempted murder for the Feb. 7, 2022, shooting.
The charges against Kelley have been on hold since Feb. 23, 2022, when defense attorneys asked to have his competency evaluated.
State psychologists agreed that his mental condition prevented him from being able to help his attorneys. They asked for three months of treatment for Kelly.
Kelly objected to taking the medication to treat his condition until a judge ruled that the hospital could require him to take it starting in August. He was at the hospital until earlier this month.