Sergey Fedoruk’s third trial over the alleged murder of his brother-in-law in 2011 will begin in May, Cowlitz County Superior Court Judge Stephen Warning decided Tuesday.
Fedoruk will be prosecuted by Clark County Prosecutor Kasey Vu, who is taking over the case due to potential conflicts of interest. Cowlitz County prosecutor Ryan Jurvakainen was Fedoruk’s defense attorney during his first trial, which means a different county prosecutor must handle the case.
“So, by process of elimination,” Vu said in a phone interview Tuesday, “it came down to Clark County, and I was assigned.”
Fedoruk, 45, was convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to 18 years in prison in 2012 for beating his brother-in-law Serhiy Ishchenko to death. That conviction was thrown out on appeal. Justices cited prosecutorial misconduct and Fedoruk’s defense team’s failure to bring up a mental capacity defense soon enough.
Fedoruk has been diagnosed with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, according to court documents. Defense attorneys argued in his second trial in September 2017 that Fedoruk likely was off his medications and having a psychotic or manic episode during the fatal beating of Ishchenko. After numerous outbursts in court, he was ordered by Warning to spend the last portion of that trial in his jail cell.
He was again sentenced to 18 years for second-degree murder in December 2017, but he appealed that conviction on the grounds that his mental health had deteriorated throughout the trial to the point where he was no longer competent.
The Court of Appeals agreed in June, finding that: “Because there were clear signs that Fedoruk’s mental condition had significantly deteriorated since being found competent to stand trial, and because the trial court applied the wrong standard in evaluating Fedoruk’s behavior, the court abused its discretion when it failed to order a competency evaluation during trial.”
Despite the change of prosecution, all proceedings in the case are still scheduled to remain in Cowlitz County. Fedoruk will face trial May 14. He will be held without bail until then.