In his own words: Video shown of interview with courthouse attack suspect


For the first time, the man accused of last year’s courthouse attacks is telling his story in his own words, at least on video.

It’s not the abridged version — Steven Kravetz’s interview with detectives lasted roughly six hours, going back years, spanning several separate cases and an incident at Mark Reed Hospital he repeatedly refers to as “the rape.”

Prosecutors said they intend to play the full recording of the interview conducted after he was arrested at his mother’s Olympia home the day after he allegedly shot Grays Harbor Sheriff’s Deputy Polly Davin and stabbed Superior Court Judge David Edwards.

The Kravetz speaking on the video is a stark contrast to his courtroom presence, which has seen him monosyllabic whenever possible and soft-spoken sometimes to the point of inaudibility.

In his interview, though, he seems filled with a kind of nervous energy, at times almost breathless as he takes detectives Jack Gardner and Luther Pittman through the meandering path that led him to the courthouse in Montesano March 9, 2012.

Kravetz speaks for nearly an hour about events of 2004 and 2005 before Pittman, the lead detective in the case, ventures, “How does this all connect to the courthouse?”

“It’s all very complex, I’ll explain,” Kravetz assures them.

Kravetz is highly specific about dates, times and names going back about nine years, mostly speaking smoothly and articulately, although he almost rocks in his seat and touches his face repeatedly during upsetting portions of the account.

On day three of Kravetz’s trial in Chehalis, Pittman testified, “Mr. Kravetz is a very intelligent — I would say highly intelligent — individual, who is very capable of rational, linear thought, and presented all of his interview to us in a narrative form.”

Before the video was played, Kravetz again requested through his attorney, David Arcuri, that he be allowed to leave the courtroom while the interview was played because of personal discomfort.

Lewis County Superior Court Judge Richard Brosey came to the same conclusion as he did Wednesday when Kravetz asked to be excused: To prevent any possible issue being raised on appeal if Kravetz is convicted, he would remain in court.

Instead of ignoring the video, Kravetz appeared to watch it intently, taking frequent and sometimes extensive notes.

On the video, Kravetz starts off with the current case, explaining up front his goal for being in the building at all.

“I wanted to take the prosecutor’s office file of my case,” he said, referring to a 2005 incident where he was charged with domestic violence assault against his mother, malicious mischief and escape.

The way Kravetz tells it, it all stems from a misunderstanding that snowballed out of control.

In 2005, he said his mother, Roberta Dougherty, had reported her car stolen, although it actually turned out to be on their property. He doesn’t elaborate on why she thought it was stolen.

A Grays Harbor County Sheriff’s deputy came to investigate anyway, and somehow, Kravetz said, “He got provoked by something he saw in the vehicle and he kind of accused me of assault or something like that.”

When Kravetz and Dougherty deny the allegation, the deputy leaves, but Kravetz told detectives the incident left him feeling insulted.

“Later I felt real depressed, I felt very bad about myself because I didn’t stick up for myself and have my say,” he said.

So he had Dougherty contact police to get the deputy back out to talk things over — he couldn’t call himself because he had sworn after a female dispatcher was rude to him when he called about issues with his neighbors in 2004, he would never call police again.

“I don’t feel it’s right for a female person to treat a male person that way,” Kravetz explained, the detectives chiming in their agreement, keeping him talking.

“I believe concerning men and women, I don’t think they’re equal. They’re both important and both good, but I believe the male is the more capable. So when I see a female person being disrespectful to a male person, I find that to be quite rude,” he said.

Therefore, a year later, he asked his mother to contact police for him so he could keep his word to himself about not calling.

What he didn’t expect, he told detectives, is that Dougherty would call 911 instead of the non-emergency number for the Sheriff’s Office. He said she tried to explain he was very upset and wanted to talk to the deputy.

“Somehow the call taker took that as I was trying to commit suicide,” he said.

Soon, several police cars were on their property, calling Kravetz out to speak to them. Confused, he said he went outside, and was immediately upset by the thorough weapons search a deputy conducted on his body, including his groin area.

Eventually, police informed him they were taking him for a mental health evaluation, and brought him to Mark Reed Hospital for medical tests.

At this point, Kravetz pauses, asking the detectives if the recording would be released to the media or kept privately for law enforcement. They both assure him it won’t be distributed.

No copies of the recording were released, although The Vidette did obtain a transcript of the interview last week for a story appearing in the March 28 edition.

At the hospital, the blood pressure check went without incident, but when they tried to take his temperature Kravetz said he dodged the thermometer because they hadn’t explained what they were doing.

Kravetz said a nurse told him she would use a rectal thermometer if he wouldn’t cooperate.

“They were very serious about that. When that happened I took that as a rape threat,” he said.

Then they asked for a urine sample.

“I find it to be sickening, that someone would take someone’s urine and use it for informational purposes,” Kravetz said, clearly agitated at the memory. “I find that to be against the laws of God.”

The nurse and a doctor told him they would use a catheter to get the sample if necessary.

“This just completely blew me away, the most horrible thing that happened in my life,” he said, pressing his hand into the side of his face.

The same deputy who had frisked him stayed with him at the hospital, not reacting to these medical procedures Kravetz viewed as sexual assaults, which led Kravetz to protect himself.

He tore the screen out of the bathroom window, threw it at the nurse, and lifted himself outside. He tripped as he ran, allowing deputies to catch him and bring him back, where he did receive a catheter and had his temperature taken rectally.

“It was intensely painful. and while it was going on, (the deputy) and I think someone else was actually making light of it, they were almost making jokes or something,” Kravetz said.

“I wasn’t suicidal before, but when that happened, I didn’t want to live anymore.”

Extensive research was recovered from his home about Mark Reed staff and the deputy in question, including photos.

“I went through so many difficulties trying to identify these people, but I could never get these people identified so I could file a complaint,” Kravetz said in the interview. Which led him to the courthouse in Montesano, to try and steal his court file. Prosecutor Stew Menefee alleged in his opening argument Kravetz was looking for evidence of a wide conspiracy against him.

More than four hours of interview footage remain to be shown today, and the trial is expected to continue at least through Monday.