McKinstry pleads not guilty by insanity

PORT ORCHARD — Garrett J. McKinstry, charged with murdering his father, pled not guilty by reason of insanity in Kitsap County Superior Court Oct. 10.

McKinstry, a 2004 graduate of North Kitsap High School, allegedly stabbed his father, Bainbridge Island school counselor Jeff McKinstry, Oct. 11, 2007 at their South Kingston Road home.

For the last six months, McKinstry was deemed incompetent to stand trial by doctors at Western State Hospital, a mental health evaluation and recovery center in Tacoma, where he was held.

Competency, explained Kevin Hull, Kitsap County deputy prosecutor, means the person to stand trial is aware of who they are and what is going on around them. Hull said competency is often restored through medication.

“It’s not uncommon for someone to seek this (insanity) defense when there’s really no question who committed the crime,” Hull said. “The defense isn’t even arguing that point.”

McKinstry will head back to Western State Hospital where he will undergo a forensic evaluation and doctors will offer an opinion if McKinstry was insane at the time of the homicide. McKinstry’s defense attorney David LaCross said they have 15 days from the Oct. 10 court date to do the evaluation.

“I think it’s a tragic case,” LaCross said. “I expect that the evaluation of Mr. McKinstry will show that he was insane at the time of the homicide.”

LaCross said McKinstry could have issues with competency during the trial if he goes off his medication. Although the next trial date is set for Oct. 27, the evaluation by Western State Hospital doctors may not be ready. In that case, the trial will be postponed.

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