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Judge delays arraignment for man accused of January murder-arson until he receives mental evaluation

SNOHOMISH — Shackled to a wheelchair and outfitted in an orange jail jumpsuit, Zach Konicke, 29, made an appearance in Snohomish County Superior Court Monday, Feb. 8 in what was supposed to be his arraignment for the charges against him.
The would-be arraignment is held off, for now, until a mental competency evaluation can be conducted and finalized for the court to proceed.
His defense attorneys asked for this evaluation take place at Western State Hospital.
A review date of the competency findings is set for Feb. 18 at 9 a.m. Konicke will remain in custody with the $1 million bail and no contact order with Konicke’s father upheld.
Konicke is charged with murder and arson in the first degree.
He is accused of stabbing his parents and setting their house on fire in Snohomish on Jan. 14.
In the jailhouse audio-video segment for his court appearance, Konicke appeared alert yet passive, and quietly cooperated with public defense attorney Natalie Tarantino. He did not speak.
Judge Linda C. Krese approved the motion for a competency evaluation.
Public defense attorney Robert O’Neal asked for the evaluation, said Tarantino.
“Mr. O’Neal has had contact with the client and contact with staff at the (Snohomish County) jail and communicated to me a request to not proceed with arraignment until a mental competency evaluation can be accomplished,” said Tarantino.
A competency assessment request for a criminal defendant is usually screened by the Snohomish County Competency Assessment Management Program at the jail; however, the defense asked that Konicke be transported and evaluated at Western State Hospital for the competency assessment. A qualified expert will also be appointed to conduct the hearing. The defense also may hire an independent expert.
According to charging documents, Konicke had voluntarily agreed to a commitment for evaluation at Evergreen Health Medical Center in Kirkland in early January. Ultimately, he was released by Evergreen Health Medical Center and his parents had made arrangements for him to stay at their residence.
On Jan. 14, after returning with his mother’s car taken without permission, Konicke allegedly attacked his parents in their home in Snohomish off Dubuque Road, stabbing them both and setting their house on fire.
Superior Court charging documents state the defendant's mother, whose body was found along with a deceased dog at her feet amid the rubble the day after the total-loss house fire, did die of homicidal violence had knife wounds consistent with a knife assault. Court documents also state that neighbors had told Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office major crime unit detectives they heard arguing and a “blood curling scream” from his mother followed by silence prior to the fire. His father Mike Konicke sustained wounds consistent with being attacked, by multiple objects including knives, and had suffered burns from the fire. He was hospitalized and released weeks ago.
Zach Konicke was also hospitalized, but for injuries to his feet from jumping from a second story window to escape the fire. He told detectives that night and the following day he had set the fire. He also told a Sheriff’s deputy assigned to his security detail at the hospital that he stabbed his mother three times.  
The next time Konicke will appear in Superior Court will likely be for the review of his mental competency evaluation. He remains in custody on $1 million bail for probable cause that he is a danger to his family and the community. 


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