Judge rules Gese competent to stand trial for murder of mother, Kent teacher

Michael Gese received competency restoration services at state hospital; Gail Gese killed Feb. 1

Gail Gese.


A judge has ruled that Michael Gese, charged with killing Gail Gese, his mother and a Kent middle school teacher, is competent to stand trial.

Michael Gese, 31, of Tacoma, faces a first-degree murder charge for allegedly stabbing his mother Feb. 1 at her Tacoma home. Gail Gese, 66, taught in the Kent School District. She taught math, foods, fads and finance at Cedar Heights Middle School, in Covington, since 2011. She previously taught at Kent Phoenix Academy.

Pierce County Superior Court Judge Grant Blinn ruled Oct. 11 that Gese is competent to stand trial, that he has the capacity to understand the nature of the proceedings against him and to assist in his defense, according to court documents. A trial date of Nov. 30 has been set, although that could be continued if attorneys from either side request more time to prepare the case.

Gese had been held at Western State Hospital in Lakewood rather than the Pierce County jail for competency restoration services. He was admitted in July to Western State for 90 days of competency restoration and an evaluation regarding his competency to stand trial on the pending charges. He is now back in jail. Bail is set at $1 million.

Gese appears to meet diagnostic criteria for schizophrenia, with multiple episodes, but is currently in full remission, according to court documents. The documents include eight pages of an Oct. 6 Inpatient Forensic Evaluation Service Competency Assessment.

Gese faced a 2016 DUI charge where a doctor reported in 2019 that Gese lacks the capacity to assist in his defense, according to court documents. He lived in residential care facility in Lakewood for 18 months and stopped his prescribed medications when he left the facility near the end of 2017.

Pierce County Superior Court Judge Karena Kirkendoll ruled Feb. 23 Gese incompetent to stand trial for the first-degree murder charge and ordered competency restoration for him following evaluations of Gese. That ruling came after a doctor diagnosed Gese with schizophrenia, which he now treats with olansapine as prescribed by a doctor, according to court documents.

Gese told Tacoma Police detectives after his Feb. 1 arrest that he was having an issue with his mother because she asked him to leave the residence which would cause him to be homeless again and he didn’t want to do that. He admitted to detectives that he stabbed his mother in the neck, according to court documents.

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