Alexander Althauser will serve a 12-year prison sentence after pleading guilty to stabbing his then-girlfriend in 2013.
The 36-year-old Lacey man was initially charged with attempted first-degree murder, but pleaded guilty to lesser charges of first-degree assault and second-degree assault before Thurston County Superior Court Judge Mary Sue Wilson on Friday.
Deputy prosecutor Cailen Cecil Wevodau said she agreed to the lesser charges because Althauser suffers from schizophrenia, and she learned about the severity of his condition after the initial charges were filed. However, Althauser was deemed competent to stand trial by Western State Hospital.
Cecil Wevodau described the case as one of the most traumatizing cases she has ever worked on — for the victim, the victim’s 10-year-old daughter and for herself. She said that Lacey police officers initially believed that the case would be a homicide, and she was called to the scene.
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“That’s very unusual in a case like this,” Cecil Wevodau said. “Usually that’s something that would be done in a homicide case.”
Officers were dispatched to the home, located on the 5600 block of College Street NE in Lacey, at 1:49 a.m. on Nov. 5, 2013, according to court documents. They responded to a 911 call from a woman who said said she had been punched and stabbed by her boyfriend. During the call, the woman passed out, but came back on the line a short time later.
When officers arrived, they broke down the front door and entered the home. They arrested Althauser after a violent altercation, and found the victim and her daughter in an upstairs bedroom, according to court documents.
Althauser later told police that he was “in love” with the victim’s 10-year-old daughter and that the victim was the only object standing in his way. He said that he wanted to comfort the girl and that he “wanted her sexually.”
When the victim placed herself between Althauser and her daughter, he punched her repeatedly and stabbed her with a kitchen knife, according to court documents.
The woman was taken to Providence St. Peter Hospital, where she was treated for stab wounds and a collapsed lung.
Defense attorney Tom Keehan said that his client had fallen through the cracks of the mental health system. He said Althauser had accidentally overdosed on antipsychotic medications shortly before the incident, and that changes in his medication had destabilized his mental state.
“It’s a tragedy that he is before the court today,” Keehan said. “Without Alex’s schizophrenia, none of this would have happened.”
Althauser told the judge that he would use his time in custody to improve his mental state and that he felt remorse for his actions.
Wilson sentenced him to 12 years in prison for the first-degree assault charge,and 14 months for the second-degree assault charge. The two sentences will be served concurrently.