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Murder suspect to be evaluated at hospital
PORT ORCHARD — A suspected accomplice in the murder of 74-year-old Kingston resident Richard Hugh Jones Jr. is en route to Western State Hospital for a mental evaluation.
Jesus Castro De Juan, 29, was arrested Aug. 1 at a Tacoma bus station after allegedly fleeing to California — using Jones’ credit cards — with his friend, David Robert Adams, 23.
According to court documents De Juan allegedly stabbed Jones after Adams allegedly strangled him during a boxing match at Jones’ home on July 26. Adams told police he asked De Juan to stab Jones to “make sure he was dead.”
De Juan did not appear in Kitsap County Superior Court Friday for his scheduled arraignment before the judge, due to the court-ordered mental check-up.
In De Juan’s absence, courts charged him with first-degree rendering criminal assistance, and second-degree possession of stolen property.
The first-degree murder charge was dropped after it was determined the cause of death was strangulation, not stabbing.
Adams pleaded not guilty to his charge of first-degree murder Aug. 4 during his arraignment.
De Juan will stay at Western State Hospital until an evaluation is completed.
“A status hearing is scheduled for August 29 but it could take longer than that,” said Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Jay Wilkinson, adding the process could take anywhere between a few weeks to a few months.
Wilkinson said it isn’t rare in criminal cases for defendants to need a mental health evaluation.
“When there is any doubt the defendant might not understand the charges against him or can’t assist in their own defense it’s an ethical duty to make this motion,” he said.
De Juan’s defense attorney, David Rovang, was not available for comment before press time.
When De Juan is deemed competent by mental health evaluators, he will be formally arraigned.
“For now we sit back and wait on the results,” Wilkinson said.