Mountlake Terrace police are now working with Snohomish County prosecutors to update the charges against the suspect to include second-degree murder.
A Mountlake Terrace woman who police say was viciously beaten in front of her 3-year-old daughter by a stranger who kicked down her front door last month has died, police said.
The 32-year-old victim, Marta Teweldemedhin, had been hospitalized at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle since the unprovoked April 16 attack. Teweldemedhin died last week, but was kept on medical equipment for reasons police did not disclose, Mountlake Terrace Police Cmdr. Mike Haynes wrote in a news release Tuesday.
“Yesterday afternoon at 4 p.m., she was formally removed from the equipment keeping her body functions operating,” Haynes wrote.
Detectives will ask Snohomish County prosecutors to increase charges to second-degree murder against the suspect, Christopher Yacono, 29, of Arlington.Yacono was initially charged with first-degree assault and residential burglary in connection with the attack.
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Just before 5 p.m. on April 16, Mountlake Terrace police responded to the woman’s home, where they found Yacono on her front lawn holding a beer, according to the probable-cause statement outlining the police case against him.
Police say Yacono initially claimed to have heard a woman’s screams, kicked down her front door, saw her lying on the floor with severe head injuries, then got a beer from her refrigerator and went outside, the statement says.
But during later questioning, police say Yacono told them he’d forgotten his phone the night before and went to retrieve it. He was sitting in his car, charging the phone, when police say Yacono told officers “something told him to go into the house” and he knocked on the woman’s door, the statement says.
When he got no response, “Yacono said he kicked the front door in” and discovered the woman inside, says the statement.
When she screamed, police say, Yacono slammed her head into a wall, and when she fell, he then slammed her head twice against the hardwood floor, according to the statement. Police say Yacono threw a beer bottle at the unconscious woman’s head, then grabbed a cooking pot and again hit her in the head, breaking the pot’s handle.
Police say Yacono then got a beer out of the fridge and left the home, according to the statement. Police say Yacono couldn’t tell officers why he attacked Teweldemedhin, but said he was schizophrenic and had not been taking his medication, the statement says.
Police said Yacono did not know Teweldemedhin. He was in the 22400 block of 59th Place West where she lived with her family to retrieve his phone from his girlfriend’s house.
In June 2016, Yacono kicked down the door of his former roommate’s Lynnwood apartment, splattered hot sauce on the walls and set the man’s mattress on fire, court records show. A couple of days later, he sent the roommate a text message, threatening to kill him, according to charging documents filed in the case.
Yacono was sent to Western State Hospital for a psychiatric evaluation and was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder, though he was found competent to stand trial, according to court records.
He pleaded guilty to arson and cyberstalking in April 2017 and was sentenced to two years in prison, which was an exceptional sentence below the standard range based on his mental-health issues, court records say. He was also sentenced to three years of community supervision, or probation, the records show.
A GoFundMe campaign for Teweldemedhin’s family has raised $32,762.
Seattle Times news researcher Miyoko Wolf contributed to this story.