Judge rules suspected murderer in 2002 case could walk free by Tuesday without mental evaluation

EVERETT, Wash. -- A Snohomish County mom is still grieving over the murder of her son 14 years ago.

Now a new twist is only increasing her pain and anguish -- the man accused of the crime has never been tried and he may soon walk out of jail if he can’t get the mental help a judge says he needs.

It’s been a roller-coaster ride of emotions for Brady Sheary’s mother, Tammy.

The suspect, Todd Brodahl, is charged with second-degree murder. But, officials said, he’s never been mentally fit to face trial.  Now he may walk free if he doesn’t get back into Western State Hospital.

“It’s taken so many twists and turns through this 14 years, I don’t want to be naive and think it’s not going to happen,” said Tammy.

Tammy said the memory of learning about her son’s murder 14 years ago is still fresh. She wonders what could have been if Brady hadn’t been taken so young.

“Fourteen years is almost his entire lifetime,” she said.

In April 2002, police found 18-year-old Brady Sheary beaten and stabbed to death in Marysville’s Cedar Middle School parking lot. Investigators said they found Sheary’s blood in Todd Brodahl’s friend’s car and later arrested Brodahl for the crime.

Since then, Brodahl has been in and out of Western State Hospital for years after doctors determined his mental state made him unfit to stand trial.

Last week, a Snohomish County Superior Court judge ordered Brodahl released by Tuesday if authorities can’t find him a bed at Western State Hospital or a county mental health facility for another evaluation.

The trouble is finding room for Brodahl could take two months; that’s time that prosecutors don’t have.

County prosecutor Mark Roe said he’s frustrated, but maintains Brodahl has constitutional rights that must be protected.

“A judge has pretty much laid down the law, he’s drawn a line in the sand saying if you haven’t got him where he needs to be by next Tuesday, he’s getting out,” said Roe.

Roe said his office is now scrambling to make sure a suspected murderer isn’t allowed to walk the streets.

“We are going to do absolutely everything humanly possible to prevent that from happening,” he said.

But for Brady’s mom, it’s just one more wrinkle in a long, drawn-out search for justice.

“You’d think that the justice system would have some compassion for the victims,” said Sheary.

The Washington Department of Social and Health Services, the Attorney General’s Office, even Gov. Jay Inslee’s office is looking for a solution to keep the murder suspect behind bars. They all have until Tuesday before Brodahl could be released.