EVERETT, Wash. (AP) — A Washington state man accused of killing a 15-year-old girl in 1993 will undergo a mental health evaluation after he failed to cooperate in two court hearings this week.
Alan Edward Dean refused to identify himself during his arraignment on Monday in which he was charged with first-degree murder on the accusation of killing 15-year-old Melissa Lee, The Everett Herald reported. He was expected to enter a plea on Monday but failed to do so.
Judge Paul Thompson had Dean return to court on Tuesday. Dean, 62, still refused to identify himself and claimed he was not a citizen of the United States “as it pertains to a federal employee or resident” during the hearing.
“I wanted to see him in person, I wanted to see how he interacted with other individuals in the courtroom,” Thompson said. “And I have to say, at this point I have concerns as to competency.”
Deputy prosecutor Laura Twitchell said Dean seemed to understand what was happening, but that he was acting in a peculiar manner out of protest.
“Although what the defendant is saying is gibberish from our perspective, as you noted earlier, he is a constitutionalist or a member of sort of the sovereign nation type of mindset, which we have dealt with historically in the past, it’s not new to us,” Twitchell said. “Even though we don’t necessarily agree with it, or agree with his sense of the jurisdictional laws of our country and this court, is not the same thing as him not having a capacity to understand it.”
Thompson agreed with the prosecutor’s assessment. A public defender has been assigned to represent Dean, who has said he does not wish to work with the attorney.
In April 1993, the victim’s mother returned home to find the house a mess, with a strange chemical smell permeating throughout the living room. Milk, cigarette ashes and peanuts were spilled on the floor. The victim was nowhere to be found.
Hours later, two passersby found what was later identified as Lee’s body 50 feet (15 meters) below a bridge in Everett, Washington.
Dean lived in Bothell, Washington, at the time, about 18 miles (29 kilometers) away. He was identified then as a possible suspect, but there was not enough evidence for an arrest until this year, when DNA he discarded on a cigarette matched DNA found at the crime scene, prosecutors said.
A competency review hearing has been scheduled for Sept. 2.