CRIME WATCH FOLLOWUP: Ryan Cox found incompetent to stand trial, sent to Western State Hospital for restoration attempt

(August 2017 WSB photo by Christopher Boffoli)

A new development in the case of Ryan Cox, the 39-year-old repeat offender charged with stabbing a man in Gatewood last August: The results are in from the pretrial mental-health evaluation ordered last month for Cox, and court documents say he has been found incompetent to stand trial. As a result, a judge ordered him sent to Western State Hospital for up to 90 days of treatment to attempt to restore competency; at the end of that time; if he is found competent sooner, he’ll be sent back to the King County Jail, where he’s been since the August 8th attack.

Cox has been through this process (which is explained here) in at least one previous case, five years ago, when he was sent to Western State for an attempt at restoring competency when he faced hate-crime charges for a homophobia-motivated attack (WSB coverage here). As we reported seven months later, Cox subsequently was found to be competent, and pleaded guilty, which resulted in his first and so far only felony conviction. Prior to his August arrest, the last time he was charged with a crime was two years earlier, resulting in a misdemeanor trespassing conviction involving for Safeco Field after he was ordered to stay out. In the current case, he is charged with second-degree assault.

11 Replies to "CRIME WATCH FOLLOWUP: Ryan Cox found incompetent to stand trial, sent to Western State Hospital for restoration attempt"

  • GW Neighbor January 22, 2018 (8:41 pm)


    Do you or any readers (maybe a lawyer) know what happen if he can’t be “restored”?  There is no way he gets some treatment and then walks on this, is there?  To be clear, I wholeheartedly believe this man needs mental health treatment.  I have called the police on him several times for screaming racial, homophobic, HIV and rape comments at my house at night, walking down the alley and scaring the crap out of my 3 year old daughter.  He is crazy and he chooses not to take his meds.  He almost killed Court on my block and neighbors have already mentioned that self defense measures will be on a short leash if this guy is out walking our alley again.  For his health (not a threat, referring to his mental health) and the communities saftey, this man needs treatment and then jail time where he will be forced to receive his medication and hopefully comprehend his actions almost cost a great father and friend his life.

    • WSB January 22, 2018 (9:22 pm)

      From the page we linked to “process explained here” above …

      ‘…If, after the first period or treatment, the court continues to find the individual incompetent, the court can order another treatment period. There are cases when an individual is found not to be restorable in a “reasonable period” (typically longer than six months). If this occurs, charges against a patient may be temporarily dismissed, and the individual may be admitted to a civil psychiatric unit at a hospital for continued treatment. If this same individual is later found competent to stand trial, the prosecuting attorney can then re-open the case and court proceedings can continue. This process is known as “dismissed with prejudice.”’

      Depending on what all happens and for how long, the other question is how much time he would spend in confinement vs. the eventual sentence. In the case I cite above, when he was found competent and then pleaded guilty and was sentenced, he had already served that much time or more and was released. 2nd-degree assault carries a penalty of up to 10 years in prison. – TR

  • MJ January 22, 2018 (10:14 pm)

    He stabbed someone and belongs behind bars!

    • P January 23, 2018 (1:30 pm)

      I’m confused do you think he has free range in the hospital? he could potentially hurt someone in prison.  He could hurt someone in prison for a non-violent offense. He can get help at a hospital. 

  • Joan January 23, 2018 (7:47 am)

    This man should not be on the street. Period.

  • wscommuter January 23, 2018 (9:18 am)

    One gentle correction – “dismissed with prejudice” refers to dismissing a case with finality – no further prosecution or MH treatment possible.  I think what you are intending to mean is “dismissal without prejudice”,  where a prosecutor may dismiss a case but retains the ability to re-file charges at a later date.  

    As to his confinement status – it isn’t as though he gets released with a free pass if found incompetent – it means that he is confined (and it is pretty much just like prison, except with psychiatric treatment) at WSH for as long as he is incompetent to stand trial.  Typically, the efforts there are at finding the right mix of medication to get the defendant to a point of competency.  The threshold is fairly low – in most all cases, the defendant is medically gotten there, and then the trial proceeds.  It is actually pretty rare when someone is permanently incompetent and those folks also stay incarcerated at WSH.  

    • WSB January 23, 2018 (10:10 am)

      Thanks – but what I published above is a direct cut-and-paste quote from a state-government website, as noted (and linked), so it wasn’t anything I “intended to mean” – I found it while anticipating someone would ask about the process (and would hope that the state itself would be correct, sigh). Any suggestions for a better link would be appreciated – I’ll look around later.

      • carole January 23, 2018 (10:27 am)

        I think that DSHS page has an error.  It refers to the reopening and prosecution of a case as dismissal with prejudice, which makes no sense.  A dismissal with prejudice ends a case.

  • Samuella Samaniego January 23, 2018 (12:08 pm)

    WSB Crew, thank you for staying on top of this and letting people know. Grateful for your work, always. 


  • CJ January 30, 2018 (1:09 am)

     A rather desperate means to end his homeless plight.  We(I) overheard his conversation with Spd after calling 911. From my location their conversation seemed light,  jovial,  as if this behavior goes on a daily basis.  Free room and board, being the center of everyone attention.  However, not listening did escalate Mr. Cox to the death zone border line again.

  • gorillita January 30, 2018 (7:49 am)

    – In the formal legal world a court case that is dismissed with prejudice means that it is dismissed permanently. A case dismissed with prejudice is over and done with, once and for all, and can’t be brought back to court. A case dismissed without prejudice means the opposite. It’s not dismissed forever.

    from Google …

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