Inmate's assault trial to go forward

Marcus Van Cleary is accused of stabbing a correctional officer with a pen.

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WALLA WALLA -- A Washington State Penitentiary inmate accused of stabbing a correctional officer with a ballpoint pen in March has been found competent to stand trial.

Marcus Van Cleary, 29, underwent a mental evaluation by experts from Eastern State Hospital in Medical Lake. Based on the results and a written report, Walla Walla County Superior Court Judge Donald W. Schacht signed the competency order Tuesday afternoon.

Schacht also set Cleary's trial for Feb. 2 and 3.

Cleary is charged with second-degree assault.

Officials said he stabbed Officer Jim Nored in the face about 6:45 p.m. March 1 in an officer station at one of the prison's mental health units.

A police report filed in court says Nored's puncture wounds were minor, but he also suffered a dislocated shoulder in the unprovoked attack.

He was treated and released from Walla Walla General Hospital, officials said.

Two other correctional officers and an inmate who intervened to help Nored also were injured.

Cleary reportedly told investigators later that he had left his cell to obtain ice and was hearing voices in his head. In the interview, "He mentioned something about schizophrenia and then said he 'snapped,'" the police report says.

But James Craver, the inmate who assisted Nored, told officials Cleary knew what he was doing and is not "crazy."

The unit and two others were placed on restricted movement after the assault and Cleary was placed in segregation.

He has been incarcerated at the penitentiary since October 2010 after having been convicted of multiple counts of second-degree assault in Pierce County. He was scheduled for release in 2016.

Terry McConn can be reached at terrymcconn@wwub.com or 526-8319.

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