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Court dismisses charges against Phinney Ridge man in Mother’s Day stabbings after he’s found incompetent to stand trial

Criminal charges against the Phinney Ridge man accused of stabbing two neighbors on Mother’s Day have been dropped after he was found not competent to stand trial, after more than four months of treatment and evaluation at Western State Hospital.

The court found that John Christopher Altshuler lacked the capacity to understand the charges against him or to aid in his defense. It also found he was “unlikely to become competent within a reasonable period of time.”

Altshuler had been charged with two counts of assault, malicious mischief and violation of an anti-harassment order when he allegedly stabbed two of his neighbors on NW 74th Street on May 8. Both men were taken to Northwest Hospital, where they were treated and released after several hours.

The court dismissed the charges “without prejudice,” meaning the prosecutor could refile charges at a later date.

Altshuler remains at Western State, pending a civil commitment evaluation.

Western State diagnosed Altshuler with Unspecified Schizophrenia Spectrum or Other Psychotic Disorder with paranoid delusions and Unspecified Neurocognitive Disorder secondary to a traumatic brain injury he allegedly suffered in 1986.

According to the original charging documents, Altshuler had a long history of harassing his next door neighbor, who then filed an anti-harassment order against him. The Oct. 14, 2016, Western State competency report stated Altshuler believed his neighbors were part of the Italian Mafia and out to get him.