BELLINGHAM, Wash. - Friends say a decorated ex-Marine who stabbed two people is mentally spiraling out of control, and no one paid attention to the warning signs.
A blood-stained hat and Bible still sit on the kitchen table where Nicholas Balsam’s two roommates were repeatedly stabbed Saturday night during a dice game.
"It’s really random and messed up. It's what happens when people don't get taken care of," Balsam said.
Neighbors heard the men screaming and threw themselves on 24-year-old Jonathan Pablik.
"When officers got there, he still had the knife in his hand pinned under his body and it was quite a struggle," said Bellingham police Officer Bob Vander Yacht.
Police first arrested Pablik two weeks ago when he punched a stranger on the street. He was charged with a misdemeanor and released from jail.
When asked if Pablik should be released from jail, Vander Yacht said, ""Not right now."
According to a family website, Pablik deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq. The marine returned to California after the second tour suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. He disappeared in May. Seattle police found him weeks later wandering outside a grocery store.
"He completely slipped through the system," said Eddie Taylor, who was living at a halfway house with Pablik. Taylor says he offered to take him to a VA hospital.
Pablik’s family was raising money to move him to a treatment center in California. He’ll now move through the court system facing attempted murder charges.
“They turn him into a killing machine and there's no transition for them. Absolutely it could have been prevented, absolutely," said Taylor.
Both men who were stabbed will be OK. Pablik’s bail is set at $750,000.