Mentally ill man charged in hatchet killing of father


TACOMA, Wash. -  

 A 29-year-old man has been charged with first-degree murder in the slaying of his father at their north Tacoma home.


According to the Pierce County Prosecutor’s office, Jonathan Meline woke up around 2 a.m. on Thursday, drank some coffee, walked into his father’s bedroom and bludgeoned him to death with a hatchet.


Meline’s sister said she was asleep downstairs and awoke to the sound of thumps on her ceiling.


She heard her father screaming and Meline shouting, “Die, die, die!” prosecutors said.


According to charging documents, a few moments later she encountered her brother on the stairs with a bloody hatchet in his hand and begged him not to kill her.


Police said Meline told her he wouldn’t kill her but had to kill their father. The pair then walked 2-1/2 miles to the Pierce County Jail, where Meline turned himself in.  


 Investigators said Meline told them he had been planning to kill his father, 56-year-old Robert Meline, for several months.


The 29-year-old said he bought the hatchet on June 23, a day after telling his father he was going to kill him, police said.


Investigators said that after he confessed to the killing, police went to the family’s home and found the Robert Meline’s body in his bed with obvious severe head trauma.


Authorities said there was blood spatter on the walls and ceiling and a bloody hatchet was found in the basement.


Jonathan Meline, who has been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, said he killed his father because he believed the victim had been hurting children.


 In 2010, Jonathan Meline was charged with robbery for stealing a car from a Tacoma dealership and attempting to run over a salesman who tried to stop him, police said.


 He was found incompetent to stand trial and a judge dismissed the case.


Records showed a doctor who evaluated Jonathan Meline noted his history of dangerous and life-threatening behavior and predicted a “substantial likelihood of the defendant repeating similar acts.”


At the state’s request, Jonathan Meline was civilly committed to Western State Hospital. He was released to live with his parents on Jan. 12 after hospital officials said he was stable on medications and was no longer an imminent threat to himself or the community.   


“Nobody at Western State has a crystal ball, but someone with serious mental health problems should be in treatment and not on our streets,” said Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist. “This case highlights the dangers posed by those with mental health issues.”