More than a year after the courthouse attacks and subsequent pursuit that rocked Montesano, the man accused of attacking a Superior Court judge and Grays Harbor County Sheriff’s deputy will face trial starting Tuesday.
Steven D. Kravetz, 35, of McCleary, is charged with attempted second-degree murder, assault and disarming a law enforcement officer for allegedly shooting Deputy Polly Davin and stabbing Judge David Edwards during a violent confrontation on March 9, 2012, at the County Courthouse in Montesano.
The trial will take place at the Lewis County Courthouse in Chehalis, presided over by Lewis County Superior Court Judge Richard Brosey. The change of venue request was granted with no objections Feb. 27, largely because jurors would walk through the scene of the alleged crimes in order to get to a trial at the Montesano Courthouse.
Kravetz’s attorney, David Arcuri, has notified the court he will be arguing diminished capacity, rather than insanity, in the case. The two approaches have a few key differences.
A successful insanity defense would result in a not guilty verdict and possibly hospitalization, whereas diminished capacity would allow for a reduced charge or sentence. An insanity defense would have required Arcuri to prove by a preponderance of evidence that Kravetz was insane at the time of the alleged offense, but diminished capacity requires the state to prove beyond a reasonable doubt Kravetz was in a mental state where he could be held accountable for the crime.
On March 9, 2012, courthouse staff called police about a man behaving strangely. Deputy Davin contacted Kravetz, who initially gave a false name.
“Deputy Davin became concerned about the man’s demeanor and behavior and asked him to step outside the courthouse so that she could talk further with him,” court records state. “As she moved toward the front door of the courthouse, the man grabbed her around her head and neck with both arms and a struggle commenced.”
She was stabbed at least twice with a knife. Judge Edwards saw what was happening, tried to intervene and he was stabbed, too, according to accounts. Davin pulled her gun and Kravetz allegedly took the weapon from her and fired it twice, hitting her in the upper left arm. Neither Davin nor Edwards was seriously hurt.
A manhunt ensued through Grays Harbor and Thurston counties, and police eventually found Kravetz at his mother’s home in Olympia.
Kravetz doesn’t have much of a criminal history, but has given a false name and attacked a police officer before.
Court records in Lewis County detail an incident in March of 2008 at the Centralia library, which ended in Kravetz elbowing a police officer and getting stunned by a Taser. Apparently, Kravetz got into a shouting match with another library patron. A library attendant asked both men to leave, but Kravetz refused. When he saw two Centralia Police officers approach, he headed for the exit.
The officers followed and asked him what his name was. He replied, “David Martin Anderson,” but he didn’t provide identification and said he wasn’t sure what his Social Security number was.
When an officer reached for his left arm, Kravetz struck the officer in the hand, according to charging documents in Lewis County. The officer tried to grab the left arm again and then Kravetz struck the officer with his elbow. At this point, both officers “had to actively wrestle with Kravetz to get him under control and into handcuffs,” according to the charging documents. One of the officers ended up deploying his Taser on Kravetz. Officers searched him and found a blade in his jacket. Kravetz said it was used to protect him from dogs.
Since his arrest in the courthouse attacks, Kravetz has spoken at length to detectives and mental health professionals about a 2005 case which is generally agreed to be his motivation for being in the courthouse the day of the alleged attack.
In Kravetz’s initial interview with mental health professionals, he was found incompetent to stand trial.
Dr. Marilyn Ronnei, a psychologist with Western State Hospital, was one of Kravetz’s reviewers and principal author on the report finding he was not competent to participate in his defense.
Ronnei told the court at his competency hearing in August that during her two-hour interview with Kravetz, she was unable to get him to talk about his current charges. She said he was fixated on a 2005 case in which his mother told authorities he had threatened to commit suicide. At Mark Reed Hospital, doctors tried to get a urine sample to test for any drugs, but Kravetz resisted and escaped the hospital through a bathroom window before being apprehended.
“Mr. Kravetz did not wish to (give a urine sample), he viewed it as an invasion of his privacy, and when he was threatened with catheterization, he viewed it as a threat of sexual assault,” Ronnei testified. “He viewed that as a turning point in his life. It was the worst thing that had ever happened to him. Since that time, he viewed Grays Harbor County as having it in for him.”
Dr. Margaret Dean, the psychiatrist charged with reviewing the report, testified that she was not confident enough of the diagnosis based on the interview to take away Kravetz’s right to refuse medication and treatment. She had Kravetz brought to Western State for a 15-day evaluation.
While Kravetz did still seem somewhat fixated on his 2005 case, Dean said by all accounts from hospital staff, he appeared able to control whether he discussed it. “It’s unusual, but it’s not a bizarre delusion,” she added.
Judge Brosey found him competent to stand trial. Kravetz is held in Mason County Jail with $900,000 bail.
Vidette Editor Steven Friederich contributed to this story.