Sequim man accused of hate crime ordered into treatment

A Sequim man who is charged with a racially motivated attack on Ediz Hook has been ordered to 90 days of mental health treatment at a state psychiatric hospital.

Samuel Elliot Ketchum, 39, was found not competent to stand trial last week for an alleged assault in which he was accused of threatening to “kill (N-words)” before driving a pickup towards a Black man in another vehicle in the early morning hours of Aug. 11.

A review hearing was set for Sept. 17.

Ketchum was charged Aug. 16 with a hate crime offense, two counts of second-degree assault with a deadly weapon and one count of attempting to elude a pursuing police vehicle.

He did not enter a plea on Aug. 27 pending competency restoration at Western State Hospital.

Clallam County Superior Court Judge Brent Basden found that Ketchum did not have the mental capacity to understand the nature of the proceedings against him or the ability to assist in his own defense.

The finding was based on a state Department of Social and Health Services competency assessment that diagnosed Ketchum with unspecified schizophrenia spectrum and other psychotic disorders.

Ketchum told Basden he had been found competent after a recent psychological evaluation in California.

“The paperwork is in the truck that the cops pulled me over in,” Ketchum said last week.

Police arrested Ketchum after he allegedly set fire to the entrance sign at U.S. Coast Guard Air Station/Sector Field Office Port Angeles, threatened to kill a Black man and drove toward the victim and his passenger in another vehicle.

Ketchum refused to stop for pursuing officers — police used spike strips to stop the pickup that Ketchum was driving — until a stun gun was used to end a foot pursuit on Marine Drive.

Ketchum quickly terminated an interview for the psychological evaluation during an Aug. 23 video conference from the jail, according to the forensic mental health report.

He was being held last week in the Clallam County jail on $100,000 bail.

Alex Stalker of Clallam Public Defender, Ketchum’s assigned attorney, told state forensic psychologist Amy Sellers that his client would not participate in the evaluation until a specific federal agent became involved in the case, court papers said.

“Mr. Ketchum reported being in the intelligence community and on a secret mission,” Sellers wrote in her report.

Ketchum was verbally combative with Superior Court judges Lauren Erickson and Basden in his first two court appearances, using the F-word multiple times and raising his middle finger at Basden.

“Mr. Ketchum appears to have a disorganized thought process, which may impair his ability to provide for his own needs of health and safety,” Sellers wrote in her report.

“He offered statements indicating delusions and he suggested he may act upon those delusions, which could result in danger to himself or others.”

In the Aug. 27 court hearing, Ketchum said he had passed multiple psychological evaluations, most recently in California.

“I just woke up from a coma three years ago from police harassment,” Ketchum said.

“You guys need a federal agent to be able to supersede the authority of the situation because of the level of intelligence involved,” Ketchum added.

“You’re endangering people by accusing me of being not credible.”

In addition to the order for competency restoration, Basden signed an order prohibiting Ketchum from owning, possessing or using firearms.

“You’re going to have to involve the NRA,” Ketchum told the judge.

“Take the guns away and let the cops fight me again with their guns?” Ketchum added.

“How many guns show up when the cops show up? You guys need to put a civil protection order on the police.”