Date: Wednesday, 02 May 2018
Marta Teweldemedhin died at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.
The victim is from Eritrea, a nation in Africa where the literacy rate is about 20 percent and food for many can be scarce.
The mother of two was happily married, friends of the family said.
She heard a commotion coming from her neighbor’s place and went to investigate April 16, according to a police report. Her family rents the basement of the house, which includes two separate residences.
Christopher D. Yacono, 29, who has a history of mental health issues, remains in the Snohomish County Jail after his arrest for investigation of first-degree assault and first-degree burglary. Those allegations may be upgraded to murder when charges are filed.
Yacono told police he doesn’t know why he broke into the home. Nor could he explain why he slammed the woman’s head onto the hardwood floor, threw a beer bottle at her and beat her with a cooking pot until it broke, according to court papers.
One of her children was home when the assault occurred.
Yacono told police he was in his car charging his phone in front of the victim’s home when “something told him to go into the house,” court records said. He said he first knocked and then kicked the door in. Once inside, he saw the woman in the living room and she screamed. That, police allege, is when he attacked her.
Yacono allegedly grabbed a beer from the refrigerator afterward and left the home.
The suspect said he has mental illness and had not been taking his medication.
Although he said he didn’t know why he attacked the woman, he said he felt a compulsion to do so.
“I asked him if voices told him to assault the victim and he said no,” a police officer wrote in a report.
Friends and co-workers have raised nearly $35,000 in support of the family. Much of the money has come from her husband’s co-workers at Harborview Medical Center, where he is a hospital assistant, and from friends in the local Ethiopian and Eritrean community.
Court records show Yacono was convicted in 2017 after setting a fire the year before in a Lynnwood apartment where a former roommate lived and threatening the man’s life in a text message.
The court in May 2017 found that his mental health issues played a role in his crimes. He was sentenced to prison May 16, 2017 and released to community supervision Oct. 31. He’s under court order to be under supervision for life, according to the state Department of Corrections. Yacono had a previous conviction for felony assault and nearly a dozen misdemeanor convictions.
Under the state’s three-strikes law, he could face life in prison if convicted.
Mountlake Terrace Police and the Snohomish County Prosecutor’s Office will be working together to amend the charges, police said in a press release Tuesday morning.
Eric Stevick: 425-339-3446; firstname.lastname@example.org.