Pierce County News Release
Tacoma, WA – Today Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist charged Meshawn West, 39, with Murder in the First Degree for stabbing to death her mother, 59-year-old Joyce West, on October 27. The defendant was arraigned and bail was set at $2,000,000.
Shortly before 9:00 a.m. on October 27, the defendant attacked her mother with a steak knife, stabbing her multiple times. The victim’s husband was in the garage when he heard the victim yelling. He went upstairs and found his wife, covered with blood and unresponsive. He called 911.
Deputies arrived at the family’s South Hill home and found the victim lying on the bedroom floor. She had more than a dozen stab wounds to her chest, back and head and was pronounced dead at the scene. The defendant was slumped against a wall and had blood on her clothing. She said she had accidentally cut herself in the thigh when she was stabbing her mother and directed officers to the murder weapon, a serrated steak knife.
At one point the defendant began speaking in an unintelligible language. She said she was “speaking in tongues.” The defendant told detectives that she killed her mother because she had “spiritually raped” her. She said her mother practiced witchcraft and would molest her without even being in the same room.
The defendant has a history of mental illness and had arrived at her parents’ home from Las Vegas just four days before the murder. The victim wanted the defendant home so she could get help. According to the victim’s husband, the defendant had a mental health incident about a month ago.
“We are seeing far too many criminal cases that result from serious mental health problems,” said Prosecutor Mark Lindquist. “Individuals with severe mental health issues should be handled by our mental health system before they wind up in our criminal justice system.”
Charges are only allegations and a person is presumed innocent unless he or she is proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.