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Originally published Monday, March 12, 2012 at 9:04 PM

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Grays Harbor stabbing suspect seen as potential threat in 2007

The suspect in the Grays Harbor Courthouse attacks is ordered held on $750,000 bail, and a look at court files in an earlier case shows a judge worried in 2007 that Steven Daniel Kravetz "could become a threat to counsel and the court."

Seattle Times staff reporter

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MONTESANO, Grays Harbor County — Nearly five years ago, a Grays Harbor County District Court judge wrote a letter to attorneys expressing concern that Steven Daniel Kravetz "could become a threat to counsel and the court."

The judge's words now read as prescient: Kravetz, 34, was ordered held on $750,000 bail on Monday, charged with two counts of first-degree assault for allegedly stabbing a sheriff's deputy and a Superior Court judge, then shooting the deputy with her own firearm inside the Grays Harbor County courthouse on Friday.

Grays Harbor County Superior Court Judge David L. Edwards, who was stabbed in the neck and upper shoulder while intervening in an attack on Deputy Polly Davin, was back at work Monday, hearing cases in a courtroom directly above the one where Kravetz made his first appearance amid beefed-up security.

After the events inside the courthouse on Friday, Kravetz went to the office of attorney Robert Ehrhardt, who had represented him for a time in a 2005 case.

From there, he called his mother, and she drove to Montesano and picked him up, apparently unaware of the manhunt touched off by the courthouse attack, a sheriff's spokesman said last week.

Kravetz was arrested Saturday afternoon at his mother's West Olympia house. Roberta Dougherty, 58, called police and turned in her son after seeing a flier identifying him as a suspect in the courthouse attack.

Edwards, 63, and Davin, 45, were treated and released from Grays Harbor Community Hospital on Friday night.

"It's just a miracle his injuries weren't more serious. It's good to see him back," Grays Harbor County Prosecutor Steward Menefee said of Edwards.

Davin, who was stabbed and then shot in the shoulder, was recuperating at home, Menefee said.

Kravetz, meanwhile, is being held in the Mason County Jail and will be shuttled back and forth to Montesano for hearings, provided a change of venue isn't sought, Menefee said.

Kravetz's placement in Mason County is because of security concerns at the Grays Harbor County Jail, since the crimes he's accused of involve a local deputy and judge, Menefee said. He also said that the Mason County Sheriff's Office is leading the investigation in the case.

During his probable-cause hearing on Monday, Kravetz initially said he didn't want an attorney to represent him, but then relented and allowed Lewis County District Court Judge R.W. Buzzard — who oversaw the hearing at the request of Grays Harbor County officials — to appoint a temporary public defender for him.

At Menefee's request, Buzzard ordered Kravetz not to have any contact with Edwards, Davin or his mother. Dougherty is a witness in the felony-assault case and is the alleged victim in a 2005 domestic-violence assault case against Kravetz.

"I object to the prosecutor's request that I don't contact my mother," Kravetz said, explaining he had no other "outside help" to aid him in preparing his defense. He also said he and his mother "are challenging the validity of the state's case" in the 2005 incident, claiming police and prosecutors "made it up."

In addition to the no-contact orders, Buzzard added a long list of conditions on Kravetz — including not leaving Grays Harbor County — should he post bail.

According to court records, which fill two 3-inch-thick folders at the Grays Harbor District Court Clerk's Office, Kravetz was arrested in May 2005 and charged with domestic-violence assault and interfering with a domestic-violence report. Dougherty had called 911, saying her son was parked outside her house threatening suicide. Earlier in the day, he'd punched his mother in the arm when she prevented him from taking her car to Hood Canal. He then tore the phone from the wall when she attempted to call police, the records say.

"Steve has mental-health issues but refuses to seek help," Dougherty wrote in a police statement.

After his arrest, Kravetz was taken to Mark Reed Hospital in McCleary for an involuntary mental-health evaluation. There, he allegedly jumped out of a bathroom window but was caught after a brief foot chase and had to be physically restrained so hospital staff could evaluate him, the court records say. He was charged with malicious mischief and third-degree escape.

Several handwritten letters appear in Kravetz's District Court file, including one from June 2007 in which he complained of "all of the disrespect and the willful violation of my legal rights," calling it proof of Grays Harbor County's "dictatorial ignorance." He wrote that he "will no longer communicate to Grays Harbor County" about his case. "Our relationship is over," Kravetz said in his letter.

It's not clear whether it was that letter or a different one that prompted District Court Judge Stephen Brown to send his own letter to Ehrhardt and deputy prosecutor Christopher Bates.

"Although there is no directly threatening language in the letter, the court is concerned that Mr. Kravetz could become a threat to counsel and the court," Brown wrote in his July 2007 letter.

Kravetz ultimately fired two attorneys, including Ehrhardt, and chose to represent himself on the 2005 charges. But he failed to show up for his jury trial in September 2009, and warrants were issued for his arrest, court records show. Those warrants were still in effect when Kravetz was arrested Saturday.

Information from Times archives is included in this report.

Sara Jean Green: 206-515-5654 or sgreen@seattletimes.com

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