FERNDALE - A mentally ill Ferndale man pleaded guilty this week to reduced charges for attacking his mother and father with a knife.
Joseph Michael Delgado, 25, faces three years and four months in prison for two counts of second-degree assault with a deadly weapon and one count of unlawful imprisonment.
Last March, prosecutors accused him of attempted murder because he "showed premeditation for longer than a moment in time" before he stabbed his 53-year-old father at their home on Nicholas Road, according to charges filed in Whatcom County Superior Court.
On the evening of March 11, Delgado was acting odd. An investigation later showed he was having paranoid delusions. His mother confronted him, and he pushed her onto a couch, punched her face and took her hostage at knifepoint, according to the charges. He told her he would kill her, but he wanted to kill his father first.
Twenty minutes later, his father came home from work. As he unlocked the front door, Delgado swung it open from inside. The father backed off and tried to reason with his son, but Delgado stabbed him below the bellybutton with a 4-inch blade. They fought in the front yard until Delgado ran off.
He hid in some brush in the 2500 block of Thornton Street, a half-mile away. A police dog tracked him down. On the way, officers found a knife with a 4-inch blade wrapped in a bloody sheet.
Delgado's public defender, Angela Anderson, said her client had known for some time that "something was not quite right" with his mind. He tried to get help from Veterans Affairs but they turned him away, she said, and St. Joseph hospital wouldn't detain him because his symptoms weren't serious enough.
Delgado had no felonies on his record. He must cover about $23,000 in medical bills to mend his father's stab wound. His parents were granted a request allowing them to contact their son while he's in prison. They asked for a light sentence, said Chief Criminal Deputy Prosecutor Eric Richey.
Both attorneys and Superior Court Judge Deborra Garrett agreed that Delgado wasn't in his right mind the evening of the stabbing.
"This wasn't something you calculated in a cold-blooded way," Garrett told Delgado. "It was much more complex than that."
Reach Caleb Hutton at email@example.com or 360-715-2276. Read his Dispatcher blog at bellinghamherald.com/dispatcher-blog or get updates on Twitter at @bhamcrime.