Brian Slater took a “selfie” after he got out of the hospital.
By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter
CHEHALIS – The 26-year-old woman being held after her boyfriend was stabbed in the neck in Mossyrock returned to court today, but still has not been arraigned.
Grace E. Barker is charged with first-degree assault but concern about her mental stability has interrupted the usual process for defendants.
At a hearing last week in Lewis County Superior Court scheduled for her arraignment, her court appointed lawyer asked instead for a one week postponement.
Grace E. Barker
Centralia attorney Shane O’Rourke told the judge he’d like to wait.
“The competency question is borderline, as far as I can tell in talking with her family,” O’Rourke said.
Lewis County Senior Deputy Prosecutor Will Halstead didn’t object.
Barker attended the hearing, which is more than she did the first afternoon she was supposed to go before a judge. On April 7, temporary defense attorney Joely O’Rourke said she and others tried to speak with Barker at the jail, but Barker was uncommunicative.
The following day, corrections officers used a restraint chair to bring her into the courtroom. Her bail was set at $500,000.
Barker was arrested on April 6, after law enforcement was called to her boyfriend’s home on Mossyrock Road West.
Prosecutors wrote in court documents that Brian Slater was trying to get her to leave his residence when she picked up a knife, and he armed himself with a knife and when he threw his down thinking she had done the same, she stabbed him in the throat.
He told deputies she had been acting unstable.
Slater, 36, was taken to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle where he underwent surgery and was listed in critical condition.
He suffered a punctured and collapsed lung and a “jugular hematoma”.
The Mossyrock man is home now and, he said late last week, in a great deal of pain.
“It’s really a grizzly wound, but it’s all from the doctor that saved my life,” Slater said of his healing scar. “That’s what the doctor had to do to repair the damage.”
The knife, he said, was an approximately 10-inch long stiletto, a collector-type item of his.
He was anxious to hear what happened in court, with the mother of his baby. Slater was especially pleased lawyers and the judge have been talking about sending Barker to a mental hospital.
She doesn’t belong in a jail cell, as far as he’s concerned.
“That doesn’t mean she needs to be let go and go home,” Slater said.
Slater doesn’t make any mentions of feeling anger, just concern that Barker gets help. He’s 100 percent supportive of her, he said.
“She’s an incredibly intelligent person with an unbelievable amount of challenges,” he said. “And she’s dealt with it with grace.”
He’s not sure what day he got home from the hospital, and much about his stay there is fuzzy. He said he recalled one visitor, but learned later as many as eight people had been there, and were told he might not make it.
His sister who lives in California and created a Go-Fund-Me page for her brother says he got release three days after the attack. She created the donation page in hopes of helping Slater replace tools and other valuables that were missing when he returned home. He said he arrived to find his door wide open.
Barker this afternoon went before Judge Richard Brosey for the third time.
O’Rourke told the judge he thought she should be seen by experts from Western State Hospital to determine if she’s competent.
Individuals must be competent enough to understand their court proceedings and must be competent enough to effectively assist their lawyer in their defense.
O’Rourke said he’s not the professional who can decide that, so it’s just prudent to have it done.
“With all the references to behaving in ways that don’t make sense, it makes sense to have her evaluated by Western State,” he said.
The court scheduled a review hearing for May 11.
For background, read “Mossyrock argument: Two knives, one airlifted, other arrested” from Thursday April 7, 2016, here