The Amanda Park man accused of killing 46-year-old William A. Foster III and injuring a 12-year-old in Chehalis last month has pleaded not guilty to all charges after a competency evaluation determined he is mentally capable of standing trial.
While Western State Hospital (WSH) diagnosed the defendant, 30-year-old Billy J. Bartlett, with “substance/medication-induced psychotic disorder,” Bartlett’s evaluators determined Bartlett “currently possesses the capacity to understand the nature of the proceedings against him and to assist in his defense,” according to the competency assessment submitted to Lewis County Superior Court on Jan. 12.
Judge James Lawler signed an order of competency on Thursday. That same day, Bartlett entered not guilty pleas to one count each of first-degree murder, first-degree assault of a child and first-degree burglary.
The court ordered the competency evaluation on Dec. 30 after Bartlett’s attorney, Christopher Baum, filed a notice stating Bartlett intended to “possibly rely upon the defense of insanity.”
After receiving the results of WSH’s evaluation, Prosecutor Jonathan Meyer asked Judge James Lawler to approve a second round of testing for a blood sample that was collected during Bartlett’s arrest on Dec. 20.
The blood was initially taken as a DNA sample, Meyer said, but since WSH determined Bartlett has a history of methamphetamine use, Meyer asked permission to do a drug test on the blood sample to determine whether he was under the influence at the time of his arrest.
Baum told Lawler he didn’t oppose the additional testing.
“I think that may be beneficial to Mr. Bartlett,” he said.
Lawler approved the additional testing on the blood sample, and scheduled Bartlett’s trial for the week of April 4.
An omnibus hearing to check on the status of the case is scheduled for Feb. 24 and a trial confirmation hearing is scheduled for March 31.
Bartlett was most-recently released from jail on Nov. 9, 2021, and was on probation when the alleged incident occurred on Dec. 20.
Foster, who was from Tacoma, was in a van at a gas pump outside a store in the 600 block of North National Avenue with his two children, a 12-year-old and a 4-year-old, when Bartlett allegedly approached and asked for a cigarette. Foster reportedly gave Bartlett a cigarette, then Bartlett allegedly stabbed Foster and injured the 12-year-old.
Bartlett reportedly walked away from the van and Foster started driving the van away from the gas pump. The car ultimately came to rest outside the nearby Ocean Sky Restaurant, where officers found them after they were called to the scene at 7:47 p.m.
Both Foster and the 12-year-old were transported to Providence Centralia Hospital, where Foster died from his injuries.
Coroner Warren McLeod has since determined Foster’s cause of death to be internal bleeding due multiple stab wounds and the manner of death as homicide.
The 12-year-old was treated for lacerations and was released.
After the stabbing, Bartlett reportedly went into the store “with a cigarette in his mouth and bought a Gatorade,” according to court documents.
He was arrested sometime after 8:38 p.m. as he was allegedly trying to break into an apartment complex in the 100 block of Northeast Boistfort Street.
Bartlett was charged with first-degree murder and first-degree assault of a child on Dec. 21, but a first-degree burglary charge was added on Dec. 30.
He is additionally accused of acting with “deliberate cruelty” toward both victims and displaying “an egregious lack of remorse,” according to court documents.
He is being held at the Lewis County Jail without bail until further notice.