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Judge dismisses murder charges in death of Bothell teen

March 22, 2022 GMT

EVERETT, Wash. (AP) — A Snohomish County Superior Court judge on Monday dismissed murder charges for the second time in the killing of a Bothell teenager after concluding that Alan Edward Dean may never be mentally competent to stand trial.

Breakthroughs in forensic genealogy led to Dean’s arrest in July 2020. A used cigarette butt linked him to the killing of Melissa Lee, who was 15 when she died in April 1993, the Everett Herald reported.

At court appearances after prosecutors charged him with first-degree murder in 2020, Dean rambled incoherently and refused to identify himself. After he refused to cooperate at another hearing, a judge ordered Dean undergo a mental health evaluation.

Finding Dean didn’t have the capacity to understand the nature of the proceedings against him or to help in his defense, judges twice ordered competency restoration treatment at a state psychiatric hospital.

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After doctors argued Dean was unlikely to regain competency, Judge Richard Okrent dismissed the case in 2021 and indefinitely committed Dean to the hospital.

In January, Western State Hospital doctors called Dean “gravely disabled” and said he was ready for a “less restrictive alternative placement,” like an adult family home. The petition was approved in January. Prosecutors refiled criminal charges this month.