Crime

He feared Winco customer would harm him, so he shot her. He’s now competent for trial

The man accused of shooting a customer inside a crowded Richland grocery store last summer is competent to proceed to trial.

Matthew D. McQuin’s case has been on hold since Aug. 9, a week after he approached a stranger in WinCo Foods and fired once at her head.

McQuin, 46, claimed he thought Jenna Kline had been following him and was about to spray him with a chemical.

Kline, a veterinarian who lived in Richland, survived the bullet wound.

A psychologist from Eastern State Hospital determined last fall said that McQuin understands the circumstances around his attempted first-degree murder charge and can help attorney Ryan Swinburnson in preparing a defense.

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Matthew McQuin, left, on Thursday was found competent to stand trial in the shooting of a customer inside WinCo in Richland last summer. Noelle Haro-Gomez Tri-City Herald

However, Swinburnson questioned the findings and said he wanted a second opinion.

Thursday, the defense lawyer said he still is waiting on a final report but, after talking to his independent evaluator, feels confident moving now for a competency order.

He cautioned there are additional documents requested by the evaluator and, if received, the information could affect the decision as to whether McQuin was insane or had a diminished capacity at the time of the July 30 shooting.

Said he had paranoid ideas for 17 years

McQuin told the state psychologist he started having paranoid ideas at least 17 years ago. He acknowledged that he was not in his right mind that night at WinCo, but said he still believed Kline was out to harm him, court documents show.

McQuin, a Umatilla truck driver, was found to suffer from schizophrenia or a psychotic disorder that may have been brought on by using methamphetamine and marijuana. He also continues to have paranoid delusions and hallucinations related to smell, documents said.

A tentative trial date was scheduled for June 24 in Benton County Superior Court.

McQuin remains in jail on $500,000 bail.

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Kristin M. Kraemer covers the judicial system and crime issues for the Tri-City Herald. She has been a journalist for more than 20 years in Washington and California.
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