Point Defiance stabbing suspect to receive 'mental competency' hearing

TACOMA, Wash. - The man accused of a brutal stabbing of a woman at Point Defiance Park appeared in court Thursday, but must undergo a mental competency hearing before proceedings continue.

The suspect, 27-year-old Nicholas Matthew, was charged with first-degree attempted murder, but made no plea — guilty or not guilty — before a judge.

That is because the state is questioning Matthew's mental competency and requested an evaluation. Because of this, no bail was set, and Matthew remains in custody.

"My concerns with regard to possible competency issues arise from both his behavior during this incident where he was accusing the victim of being a pedophile, and as I indicated in my probable cause declaration, that's simply not true. It is not clear why he targeted this victim other than she was a solo victim walking alone on a trail," the prosecuting attorney said.

The state also suggested Matthew may be bipolar and schizophrenic, and are uncertain if he understands the charges made against him.

However, records show Matthew made several seemingly calculated decisions following the incident.

Probable cause documents obtained by FOX 13 News say Matthew was attempting to flee to Taiwan after the attack — which could have allowed him to dodge arrest, as Taiwan does not have an extradition treaty with the U.S.

According to court docs, Matthew applied for a passport before the incident. Once his passport came in, Matthew flew to Taiwan. However, he didn't have a job and could not afford living in Taiwan, so he petitioned the U.S. Embassy to help him get back to the States.

Matthew then reportedly stayed with family in Atlanta for a few weeks, then got a new debit card and bought tickets to fly back to Taiwan, according to court docs.

By this point, investigators were onto him, but Matthew had already left Georgia. He had a connecting flight in San Francisco, and law enforcement were able to take him into custody before he boarded the flight to Taiwan, court docs say.

Investigators connected Matthew to the crime through DNA and surveillance video evidence. In his apartment, detectives found clothes matching the suspect description, as well as dried blood throughout the apartment and his car. According to court docs, Matthew is also suspected of threatening a Guitar Center employee roughly 10 miles away from where the stabbing attacked happened — investigators linked him to this incident based on suspect description and license plate number.

Detectives say when they asked Matthew if he had ever been to Point Defiance Park, he at first said "no," then later changed his answer to "probably." When confronted with surveillance images of his car near the park, he admitted to driving through the park but not getting out of his car.

Matthew is scheduled for a mental competency hearing on May 9.


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