A 34-year-old man who threatened to kill a Lacey restaurant employee will soon be released from the Thurston County jail after more than a year spent bouncing between the facility and Western State Hospital.
In August, Farokh Jalil-Al-Ghadr was sent to the state’s psychiatric hospital for the third time and received 90 days of treatment before being found competent to stand trial. That finding allowed him to enter a guilty plea Wednesday in Thurston County Superior Court.
Jalil-Al-Ghadr was arrested in November, 2015, accused of threatening to kill an employee of a Lacey restaurant who had tried to shoo him away because he was behaving oddly, wearing a blue plastic bag over his head.
“I will return again and again until I kill him. I never lie. Honest to God, I am going to kill him,” Jalal-Al-Ghadr told the arresting officer, according to Lacey police.
Jalil-Al-Ghadr pleaded guilty to two counts of harassment, a gross misdemeanor. He was sentenced on the first count to 364 days in custody with credit for time served. On the second count, he was sentenced to another 364 days in custody, with 355 days suspended for two years.
He had initially been charged with one count of felony harassment, following his arrest in November 2015.
But he entered an Alford plea to the lesser charges Wednesday — meaning he maintained he was innocent of the crime, but acknowledged there might be enough evidence to convict him. Deputy Prosecutor Joseph Wheeler said the new charges also provide the opportunity for the state to keep tabs on Jalil-Al-Ghadr and make sure he’s complying with his sentence.
Wheeler said it was important to make sure that the victim in the case is protected.
“It’s in the state’s interest to protect the public,” Wheeler said.
The discussion of public protection versus Jalil-Al-Ghadr’s rights came up this summer, when public defender Andrew Yi and Thurston County Public Defense Director Daryl Rodrigues said the county prosecutor’s office should drop the criminal charges and instead pursue a civil commitment. At that time, Jalil-Al-Ghadr had spent 272 days in jail, more than three times the maximum sentence he would have likely faced if he were convicted of felony harassment.
Yi said that Jalil-Al-Ghadr has battled mental illness, including schizophrenia, for much of his adult life. The attorney said his client has been civilly committed in California at least three times, but his family reported that Jalil-Al-Ghadr does well with treatment and medication.
Thurston County Prosecutor Jon Tunheim said in August that he wasn’t comfortable with releasing Jalil-Al-Ghadr into the community without any kind of supervision. With Wednesday’s resolution, Jalil-Al-Ghadr will have to undergo mental health treatment and have no contact with the victim and his family, or face going back to jail.
Jalil-Al-Ghadr was arrested Nov. 17, 2015, after a Roundtable Pizza employee reported a man wearing a blue overcoat with a blue plastic bag on his head was standing outside of the Lacey restaurant, according to court documents.
The man, later identified as Jalil-Al-Ghadr, called the employee names and told him he was “lucky to be alive,” according to police. He also threatened to rape the employee’s wife, police reported.
Jalil-Al-Ghadr then walked away. A Lacey police officer later found and arrested him.
The employee said Jalil-Al-Ghadr frequents the Hawks Prairie area and that he had seen Jalil-Al-Ghadr the previous day. He had been outside of the Sport Clips hair salon — which is next door to Roundtable Pizza — making the women who worked there feel uncomfortable, according to court documents.
The Roundtable employee said he asked Jalil-Al-Ghadr to move along. The two men “had a few words,” but Jalil-Al-Ghadr eventually left.
When the officer talked to Jalil-Al-Ghadr, he said the Roundtable Pizza employee hadn’t been polite to him and that he had returned to assault the man.
According to court records, he told the police officer, “I was going to kill him. I was going to snap his neck with my bare hands. I never lie. Honest to God, I was going to kill him. That is what I came over to do today, but did not.
“I will return again and again until I kill him. I never lie. Honest to God, I am going to kill him.”
The police officer stated Jalil-Al-Ghadr said all this in a matter-of-fact voice.