Mother charged with killing son found competent for trial

Amber Lynn James was charged Wednesday with second-degree murder and ordered held on $1 million bail. (Photo: KOMO News)

PORT ORCHARD, Wash. - A Kitsap County woman who authorities say strangled her 9-year-old son last October was found competent to stand trial following a mental health evaluation.

The Kitsap Sun reports 47-year-old Amber James has pleaded not guilty to the first-degree murder charge for the death of Ryan Rosales.

Her attorney Cal Cunningham says he will argue that James is not guilty by reason of insanity. He says his client has also been interviewed by the defense's mental health expert.

According to the court's competency evaluation, a psychologist diagnosed James with an "unspecified anxiety disorder."

Court documents say that James told Kitsap County investigators that she strangled her son to protect him from people that were after them.

Prosecutors are expected to request that James be evaluated by their mental health expert.

Detectives were called to the home on the 11400 block of Symes Road Northwest in Seabeck on Halloween morning after a 911 call requesting help with CPR in progress on Ryan, according to Kistap County Sheriff's Office spokesman Scott Wilson.

When first responders arrived at the home, they reportedly found the boy, a third-grader at Green Mountain Elementary School, unconscious and unresponsive in a bedroom.

According to court documents, the boy was pronounced dead at the scene shortly after first responders arrived.

Court documents state James called 911 four times the day before her son's death on Halloween morning and told the dispatchers she was being followed and that it was an ongoing problem.

While in the Seabeck home, detectives said they observed writing and carvings on the walls in the room across from where the boy was found, documents state.

Rosales' mother reportedly told detectives that she had recently been watching conspiracy-type videos, which detectives noted appeared to have created some anxiety for her, according to court documents.

Documents state the woman reportedly told a deputy that she needed to protect her son.

"She stated she prayed, thought about it, cried and then put her hands around his throat so he couldn't breathe any longer," a Kitsap County Sheriff's detective wrote in the court affidavit.

According to court documents, the mother then went on to tell a deputy, " How do I explain to someone why I just (expletive) killed my kid? What is a good explanation of that? I killed my (expletive) kid," the detective wrote in the court documents.

When James was arrested, she reportedly had garlic cloves, two lighters and a small vial of holy water with her, according to court documents.

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