Sanity evaluation ordered for accused stabber

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WALLA WALLA — A new mental evaluation has been ordered to determine if a man knew right from wrong when he allegedly stabbed a woman outside a local tavern last year, then set fire to the home of an acquaintance and robbed him.

After the arrest last September of Ryan L. Farr, he was ordered to undergo an evaluation by experts from Eastern State Hospital in Medical Lake.

He was found competent following therapy for his case to proceed, but a sanity evaluation never was conducted, according to documents filed in Walla Walla County Superior Court.

Therefore, at the request of Farr’s court-appointed attorney Robin Olson, Judge Scott Wolfram signed an order Friday authorizing the sanity evaluation by forensic psychologist Philip Barnard of Richland. Wolfram allowed the $3,000 cost to be paid at public expense.

Olson wrote in a recent court document he isn’t sure if Farr understands the magnitude of the charges he faces.

“Mr. Farr is heavily medicated as part of his restoration of competency treatment. When I meet with Mr. Farr he looks at me with eyes wide open, seldom blinking, with almost a ‘blank’ expression,” Olson wrote.

Farr, 30, who has no permanent address, is charged with two counts of first-degree assault and one count each of first-degree robbery and first-degree arson. He has pleaded innocent and his trial is set for July 10 and 11.

Farr is accused of attacking Venita Jackson in the parking lot of the Border Tavern — formerly the Rochester Tavern — at 604 W. Elm St. about 8:20 p.m. Sept. 21.

He walked up to Jackson, punched her several times in the head and then stabbed her numerous times in the head and upper body, police said.

Jackson was hospitalized at Providence St. Mary Medical Center.

She reportedly told police she didn’t known why Farr attacked her, adding she only had had two brief conversations with him at the tavern.

Farr also is accused of setting a fire in the kitchen at 605 W. Moore St. that was reported about 6 a.m. the following day.

Later, Farr allegedly went back to that residence, the home of an acquaintance, Alan Lawrence, held Lawrence down on a couch while placing a filed-down screwdriver to his throat and threatened to kill him.

Farr eventually left, but took various items, officials said. He was apprehended and jailed that evening.

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

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