Rantz: Brutal bat attack suspect could be released before trial

Jan 11, 2023, 6:00 PM | Updated: 6:26 pm
Tulloss, homeless...
A still from security video showing an attack on an Amazon employee in Seattle. (Screenshot)

The homeless suspect in a brutal and unprovoked baseball bat attack that left an Amazon employee with a fractured skull still hasn’t started his trial. In fact, since the alleged incident in January 2022, he’s been waiting for a bed at a state facility, where his mental competency will be restored so he can face trial. And now he could be released from jail.

Wantez Tulloss is a degenerate criminal with a long history, including first-degree robbery, theft, assault, and three violations of domestic violence no-contact order.

Last year, he was charged with first-degree assault after police say he was caught on surveillance footage taking a “full body swing” with a bat to the back of a random victim’s head. Afterward, Tulloss reportedly grabbed a slice of pizza. Tulloss was a homeless man who was living in transitional housing at the time.

No beds for the suspect

Tulloss was ordered to undergo competency restoration at a Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) facility. But Governor Jay Inslee’s DSHS does not have enough beds for criminal suspects ordered into restoration.

The state estimates a bed would be available between Jan. 9 and 13, 2023. But Western State Hospital is still at capacity. That timeline has been changed to Jan. 17 to 20, but a spokesperson warned the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH that it’s “only an estimate and dates could change if there is a Covid outbreak among patients or staff.”

The waitlist for competency restoration/evaluation sits at around 850 people, the spokesperson confirmed. The crisis prompted a DSHS memo to judges and prosecutors warning them that the department may have to refuse treating some criminal suspects, which would result in their release from jail. The memo was first reported by FOX 13’s AJ Janaval.

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Tulloss could be released

Tulloss is one of the suspects who could be released, depending on how DSHS reviews cases. And if the timeline for a bed shifts again, a judge could be forced to release him.

“King County prosecutors object to serious cases being dismissed. Judges are finding that the unreasonable delays violate a defendant’s Constitutional rights,” King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office spokesperson Casey McNerthney tells the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH. “When people don’t get services that the State of Washington is expected to provide, and when their criminal cases cannot legally move forward as a result, we frequently see people who are released reoffending with serious crimes.”

McNerthney says “it’s certainly a concern with others not getting a bed,” that DSHS may refuse treatment for Tulloss.

Last year, a Clark County judge released John Cody Hart after DSHS did not have a bed for competency restoration. At the time, like Tulloss, he faced a first degree assault charge (in addition to second degree assault). Just a few months later, he was arrested in Idaho with two counts of first-degree murder after police allege he fatally shot a married couple that owned the Hartland Inn in New Meadows.

Listen to the Jason Rantz Show on weekday afternoons from 3:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. on KTTH 770 AM (HD Radio 97.3 FM HD-Channel 3). Subscribe to the podcast. Follow @JasonRantz on TwitterInstagram, and Facebook. Check back frequently for more news and analysis.

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Rantz: Brutal bat attack suspect could be released before trial