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David Altman has plead guilty to the second-degree murder of his 92-year-old father, Bernie Altman, according to court documents his lawyer filed on Jan. 23.

In the guilty plea document, David Altman, 53, said he acted with intent but without premeditation in the Aug. 25, 2016, stabbing and beating of his father at their Kelso home. Bernie Altman was hospitalized that day and died two weeks later.

David Altman will be sentenced March 6 in Cowlitz County Superior Court. He could face a sentence ranging from 11 years to life in prison.

Altman had previously sought an insanity defense during the initial murder trial. His lawyer, Simmie Baer, had maintained that defense as recently as Dec. 18, according to court documents. Baer could not be reached for comment Thursday.

A month after Bernie Altman’s death in 2016, a state psychologist found David Altman was mentally incompetent to stand trial. He was forcibly medicated later that year in December and in February was found fit to stand trial.

According to court documents, David Altman provided an evaluation in November saying he lacked the ability to appreciate the wrongfulness of his conduct at the time of the alleged murder. The state requested a further evaluation at that time by a state psychologist.

Bernie Altman taught in the Kelso School District for more than 20 years. He was a beloved Cowlitz County resident renowned for his advocacy for seniors and people with mental disabilities.

He and his wife co-founded the National Alliance on Mental Illness-Cowlitz, and he worked on a state bill that created a statewide support system for people affected by mental illness. Bernie Altman wrote columns and articles on senior issues at The Daily News while writing a senior magazine from 1998 to 2008.

He received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Cowlitz County Guidance Association in 2010 for his work improving mental health throughout the state.



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