EVERETT, Wash. - A woman is reliving the horror of a crazed man who tried to kill her 30 years ago. He's the same man now accused of killing his landlady in Everett.
"He started slashing at me with the knife and chopping at me," says 61-year-old Linda Jacobson. "He just came after me. He tried to kill me."
In 1980, Jacobson says she walked into her kitchen and saw then-28-year-old Steven Well wielding a knife. "He didn't say a darn word. He just got this mean look and started whacking away."
Jacobson says she barely knew Well, who'd just moved into her Everett apartment building. Jacobson's hands, forehead, and stomach are still scarred. Yet, she says, she never had the chance to testify against her attacker.
"They considered him too crazy to go to trial," she says.
Jacobson does not know the motive for Well's attack. However, court documents indicate Well told a psychiatrist that he believed the victim was invading his brain with electrical signals. He was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and sent to Western State Hospital. Well was later released to a group home, where he's accused of attacking another resident with a hammer. Yet, a 2004 court ruling released Well on conditions that he take his medications and find suitable housing.
Then, last weekend, Snohomish County prosecutors say history repeated itself. Well is accused of once again launching a knife attack on an innocent person, this time his landlady, 64-year-old Judy Garcia.
Garcia's family is disgusted that Well was free in the community despite his violent history.
"Its been a nightmare," said Michael Garcia, the victim's son. "We all know that the judicial system is broken down, it needs to be fixed, if it ever could be fixed."
Linda Jacobson shakes her head at news of Garcia's murder, and blames a failed judicial system as much as Steven Well. "They were more worried about infringing on his rights, it seems, than caring about anybody else."
Well is in jail on $2.5 million bail. He is expected to be charged with murder this week.