Seattle doctor accused of vicious stabbing attack on partner, toddler son pleads guilty to murder

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SEATTLE -- A Seattle doctor has admitted to fatally stabbing his son and his longtime partner in August 2011.

Dr. Louis Chen pleaded guilty Thursday to first-degree murder in the death of 2 ½-year-old Cooper Chen and second-degree murder in the death of 29-year-old Eric Cooper. Their bodies were found inside the family's condo in the First Hill neighborhood.

Seattlepi.com reports that a doctor hired by the defense claimed Chen suffered a psychotic episode because of an over-the-counter cold medicine. State mental health workers found Chen competent to stand trial.

The 43-year-old endocrinologist was initially charged with aggravated first-degree murder but pleaded guilty in King County Superior Court to reduced charges. Chen faces a sentence range of 34 to 49 years in prison.

Defense attorney Todd Maybrown said in court that Chen was mentally ill when he killed his family.

“Dr. Chen has accepted responsibility for his conduct but in doing so I want the court to understand that we maintain, as we always have, that there’s substantial evidence that he had significant mental illness at the time of the events and he continues to have concerns about this and we will present to the court substantial evidence to support, what we believe, is exceptional and extraordinary circumstance for the court to consider at the time of sentencing,” said Maybrown.

The King County District Attorney’s Office posted the following statement on its website: “Today’s guilty plea achieves the goals of the prosecution with certainty, finality and what could potentially be a sentence of life in prison. The defendant also gives up his right to any appeal in the case’

A sentencing date for this case has not been scheduled.