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Judge grants defense motion for mental evaluation of accused Cascade Mall shooter

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MOUNT VERNON, Wash. — A Skagit County judge on Thursday ordered a mental evaluation for the man accused of killing five people at Cascade Mall on Sept. 23.

This means an expert at Western State Hospital will examine Arcan Cetin and doctors  will have two weeks to determine if the 20-year-old is competent to stand trial.  Cetin is charged with five counts of aggravated murder.

Prosecutors say in a matter of one minute, Cetin managed to kill five people inside the Macy’s store before walking away.

Thursday’s motion by Cetin's lawyer set the stage for a possible insanity defense.

Cetin’s attorney told the judge that interviews with his family and psychiatrist gives them reason to doubt Cetin’s competency.

The prosecution didn't challenge the motion.

“The state does not feel like we have sufficient information at this point in time to either reject or agree,” prosecutor Rosemary Kaholokula said.

The judge gave the defense two weeks to come back with the evaluation results.

Surveillance video captured the horrific and apparently random mass shooting on Sept. 23. Investigators say Cetin first gunned down 16-year-old Sarai Lara,  then Boeing employee Chuck Eagan, mother and daughter Beatrice Dotson and Belinda Galde and lastly Macy`s employee Shayla Martin.

“Everyday I miss my mom, I can’t drive down the road right now with everything reminding me of her,” said Martin's daughter, Tanya Young.

Tanya is still asking why.

“It`s a total why and it puts a total halt on everything because you can’t understand anything, you can’t heal. It just doesn`t make sense,” Young said.

Many others feel the same way but the prosecutor did not reveal what he believes is the motive.

“That is something that will come out as we move along,” Skagit County Prosecutor Rich Weyrich said.

Nor would he elaborate on Cetin`s possible connection to terrorism, as some court records alluded to.

“We wouldn`t make any comment on anything that`s in the report,” Weyrich said.

Weyrich will have 30 days from the time of Cetin’s arraignment to decide whether he will seek the death penalty.

Martin`s daughter says there is no punishment that will stop her emotional pain.

“I don`t think any kind of justice will be justice, it`s not going to bring my mom back, it`s not going to bring anyone else back,” Young said.

But for the legal system, the big question is what will that mental evaluation say. For now the prosecution is still moving forward with the case, anticipating that arraignment in the coming weeks.