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Auburn man, 79, now competent to stand trial for attempted murder of wife
Psychiatrists at Western State Hospital have determined that a 79-year-old Auburn man charged with trying to kill his wife last fall is competent to stand trial for second-degree attempted murder and first-degree assault.
The recent evaluation supersedes a finding in March wherein psychiatrists at Western State found Jerold Goodwillie, a retired heavy equipment operator with a local cement company, then confused, depressed and disoriented by the events of Sept. 30, 2011. Both reports addressed Goodwillie's mental condition, his competency to proceed, his risk of reoffending and of "future dangerousness."
According to the evaluation, Mr. Goodwillie, who had no previous acts of severe violent behavior to his name, "spontaneously offered that he was still unable to comprehend why he had acted in such an uncharacteristic way on the day in question, but once again stated with certainty that his wife would be in no danger living with him in future.
"... His thought process was linear, organized and goal-directed, and his thought content was without any psychotic symptoms, manic symptoms, nor any symptoms of major depression," the report stated, but added, "Neither Mr. Goodwillie himself... nor the (psychiatrist) are any closer to comprehending this phenomenon than we are as of the time of the first (March 15) report. This makes any risk prediction very difficult."
Joan Goodwillie, 67, is recovering from her injuries.
King County Prosecutor spokesman Ian Goodhew said a judge has not yet set Goodwillie's trial date.
Auburn police detective Aaron Williams' account of events is as follows:
Goodwillie allegedly told his wife of 50 years just before the late-morning assault that he had met someone else, wouldn't divorce his wife because he "wanted the money" and was going to kill her. According to court papers, he next picked up an ax handle, smashed his wife several times on the head with it, seized a knife she'd been holding to defend herself and cut her throat.
Goodwillie then allegedly pursued his bleeding wife outside to where she'd collapsed on the lawn and stabbed her three times in the back.
About 1:30 p.m. a neighbor called 911 to report having seen a man drive down the street in his white Toyota pickup truck then stop near a woman lying in the middle of the 5400 block of James Avenue Southeast. The neighbor said he watched the man pick up the woman and throw her into the back of his pickup truck before driving into his garage and closing the door.
Neighbor makes the call
The neighbor knocked on the door but, hearing no response, called 911.
Police arrived to find a white pickup truck in the garage and a woman in the truck bed, bleeding profusely from stab wounds to her back. The woman told investigators that her husband had repeatedly stabbed her but that she had stumbled outside and fallen on the grass.
According to Williams' account, the injured woman said she had lain on the grass for some time before her husband returned, wearing rubber gloves and carrying garbage bags. She told police he tried to strangle her and place one of the bags over her head, but she begged him to let her die while she lay looking at the sky.
"Jerold then sat down, lit a cigarette and began to drink coffee," Williams wrote. "Joan stated that Jerold complained it was taking too long for her to die. He dragged her back into the garage. He tried to strangle her again but stopped when he told her she was going to die and to leave her alone.
"I'm going to sit here until you die," Jerold Goodwillie allegedly told his wife.
Joan Goodwillie said she lay still as he grabbed her and loaded her into the back of the truck. Ultimately she escaped and rolled herself down the driveway and onto the street, hoping someone would see her. When her husband picked her up, he took her back to the garage, telling her, "you're going to die here."
When officers arrived they allegedly saw Mr. Goodwillie walk through a door from the house into the garage, wearing only pants and gloves, his arms covered in blood.
In addition to at least three stab wounds on her back, one of which lacerated a lung, Joan Goodwillie sustained a deep laceration to her left thumb, which severed or severely injured her tendons. Her heart stopped once at least but medics revived her.
Investigators said Jerold Goodwillie sustained cuts to his hands. He was handcuffed and taken to a hospital for treatment.
Jerold and Joan Goodwillie are the parents of two adult children and four grandchildren.