Lacey man enters pleas in deaths of mother, ex-neighbor

OLYMPIA, Wash. - A Lacey man accused of killing his mother and fatally stabbing an ex-neighbor has pleaded not guilty to two counts of first-degree murder and related charges.

The Olympian reports that 30-year-old Tyler Lewis is charged with killing 59-year-old Frankie Austin on Sept. 23 in her home, then going to the home of 67-year-old Charles "Wes" Simpson and stabbing him. Simpson died several days later.

Lewis told detectives he stabbed his mother after getting into an argument with her, according to court papers. He also told detectives he stabbed Simpson "so that he would not be suffering anymore."

Sheriff's Sgt. Ray Brady has said that Austin's husband immediately told detectives he suspected Lewis. When asked why he believed Lewis was responsible, he said his stepson had long suffered from mental illness.

Officials from the Thurston County Sheriff's Office say the stepfather had been concerned about Lewis' behavior and "somewhat in fear" of him.

Lewis is also accused of killing his mother's small dog and stealing a ring and other items from her home. He pleaded not guilty to robbery and animal cruelty on Tuesday as well. He's held on $2 million bail with trial set for February.