A Puget Island man who allegedly shot at police last month has been ruled incompetent to stand trial and will be sent to Western State Hospital for treatment.
In Wahkiakum County Superior Court on Monday, Judge Douglas Goelz said “there is no other alternative” to sending Lee Wages to Western State.
Wages, 54, will be treated for 90 days to see if he can be made ready to stand trial and assist in his own defense.
Wahkiakum County Prosecutor Dan Bigelow said Wages will be sent to Western State as soon as a bed becomes available.
Western State is one of the largest psychiatric facilities in the United States, but the state has been fined hundreds of thousands of dollars for delays in timely treatment of mentally impaired defendants awaiting trial.
His family says Wages suffers from paranoid schizophrenia, and they’re anxious about him spending time in jail awaiting treatment and the wheels of justice to turn.
Terri Jenkins, the sister of Wages’ late wife, Anna Wages, said her brother-in-law is suffering in jail. Jenkins had been serving as Wages’ caregiver since his wife died in 2016.
“He definitely needs help and nobody wants to give it to him,” Jenkins said. “... He’s really scared. He wants me to find someone to talk to him that he can understand.”
Wages’ father, Don Wages, said that the family had been “hammering” at the county to intervene and provide treatment for his son in the month before the March 21 standoff with officers.
“When (Anna) passed away, I’d ask if he took his medicine, and he’d say ‘oh yeah,’ and he didn’t. And (the health agency) refused to look into that. … They really, as far as I’m concerned, did a real poor job of looking after him.
Lee Wages was arrested after a three-hour standoff with police, who were called to his home for a welfare check.
Wages is accused of three counts of attempted murder after allegedly firing six shots at two county sheriff’s deputies and a state trooper. No one was injured, and Wages eventually surrendered.
He is being held in the Wahkiakum County Jail in lieu of $500,000 bail.