Mental evaluation delays trial

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WALLA WALLA -- A local woman scheduled to stand trial this week for allegedly stabbing a man outside her residence in April will instead undergo a mental evaluation to determine her competency and sanity.

Vanessa M. Drake, 30, of 261 Newtown Road, had been scheduled to face a jury Wednesday and Thursday. But the proceedings have been postponed indefinitely because of the evaluation, agreed upon by the prosecution and defense. The order was signed Thursday by Superior Court Judge Donald W. Schacht.

Drake has pleaded innocent to second-degree assault -- domestic violence.

Officials said she stabbed Reuben J. Wentz once in the back about 2 a.m. April 10 after he had gone to her home and was loading some of his belongings into a vehicle.

Wentz was treated at Providence St. Mary Medical Center for an inch-long wound in his lower right back, according to a Sheriff's Office report filed in court.

Drake reportedly denied an assault had taken place, but a deputy at the scene allegedly located an empty knife sheath in her purse. She was arrested after an interview with law enforcement.

The assault was the latest in a series of disputes between Drake and Wentz, who have lived together in the past and have children in common, the Sheriff's Office report says.

Drake was sentenced earlier in April to 30 days on the Department of Corrections work crew for stealing items from the Macy's store in Walla Walla and assaulting a security officer there last summer.

After she was arrested for the alleged stabbing, however, DOC decided to make her serve the time for the Macy's crimes in the County Jail.

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