Mental health evaluation set for accused murderer


Jacob Coleman

The Puyallup man accused of killing a Spokane Valley cab driver was ordered to undergo a mental health evaluation on Friday, which will put criminal proceedings on hold. 

Chief Public Defender Janet Whitney moved for 19-year-old Jacob Coleman to undergo an evaluation because of statements he made to investigators after his arrest, according to the Bonner County Daily Bee. 

The Sheriff's Office says Jacob Coleman flew from Seattle to Spokane on Monday with the intention of starting a new semester at Gonzaga University. Coleman told deputies he was denied entry into the university and he became angry and even began to have homicidal thoughts. 

Coleman said he then hailed a cab from the Spokane Airport and asked to be taken to a fictitious friend's house in the east part of Bonner County, Idaho. Coleman said as they drove his thoughts became increasingly homicidal and he asked the cab driver to stop at a store in Ponderay. Coleman went into the store and bought a knife. 

Deputies say Coleman then asked the driver, identified as 22-year-old Gagandeep Singh of Spokane Valley, to drive east to a nonexistent destination. Deputies say when it became apparent that Coleman didn't have a legitimate destination or friend in north Idaho, Singh stopped the cab near the intersection of Spokane St. and E. Railroad Avenue in the city of Kootenai. Deputies says Coleman then took out the knife he bought and stabbed Singh. 

Relatives of Singh began calling the cab company after he failed to check in with them. Relatives eventually contacted Bonner County Dispatch and a short time later, a patrol supervisor found the cab and Singh was dead. 

Coleman surrendered without incident and has been charged with 1st Degree Murder. The court order requires an evaluation for a diagnosis and an opinion about Coleman's capacity to understand the charge against him.

Gonzaga released a statement on Coleman after hearing the news. 

"Gonzaga University has no record of an application for admission from Jacob Coleman of Puyallup, WA," Director of Community and Public Relations spokesperson Mary Joan Hahn said in a statement. "An individual matching his description was reported to have approached housing officials on campus Monday. As Mr. Coleman was not enrolled as a student, he was never assigned to campus housing and was informed of this fact by the Housing and Residence Life Office. We continue to gather information and work with law enforcement to support their investigation. Our hearts go out to the victim of this tragic crime and his family."

(story: KHQ.com; photo: Bonner County Sheriff's Office)

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