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Freeland man accused in knife attack on parents enters pleas of not guilty

Sean Paul DeMerchant enters a courtroom in Island County Superior Court Monday to face arraignment on two charges of first-degree assault.  - Brian Kelly / The Record
Sean Paul DeMerchant enters a courtroom in Island County Superior Court Monday to face arraignment on two charges of first-degree assault.
— image credit: Brian Kelly / The Record

COUPEVILLE — A Freeland man accused of stabbing his parents in their Bush Point Terrace home earlier this month entered two pleas of not guilty on first-degree assault charges at his arraignment Monday in Island County Superior Court.

Authorities claim that Sean Paul DeMerchant, 38, stabbed his mother and father on Oct. 9.

Deputies responding to a 911 call made by his mother found DeMerchant's parents in the bedroom of their Dolphin Drive home, with their son attending to their wounds. DeMerchant allegedly told officers that he was the assailant, and he was arrested at the scene.

His father was taken to Whidbey General Hospital for medical treatment, and his mother by airlift to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, and both were later released.

The arraignment lasted less than five minutes. DeMerchant, in a waist belt with his wrists restrained, entered the courtroom and looked at his family in the second row of the courtroom benches, and gave them a broad smile.

Peter Simpson, DeMerchant's court-appointed attorney, said DeMerchant was prepared to enter a not guilty plea.

"Mr. DeMerchant, you are charged … with count one of assault in the first degree, domestic violence, and a special allegation of armed with a deadly weapon," said Superior Court Judge Vickie Churchill. "What is your plea?"

"Not guilty," he said, stooping to speak into a microphone on the desk in front of him.

"You are charged in count two of assault in the first degree, domestic violence, with a special allegation of armed with a deadly weapon. What is your plea?"

"Not guilty," he said a second time, without bending to the microphone.

"Not guilty pleas are entered," the judge said.

DeMerchant turned again before leaving the courtroom to his family — his father, mother and brother — and smiled again, slightly nodding his head. His mother smiled back, faintly, and slowly shook her head from side to side.

Trial has been set for Dec. 20. DeMerchant remains in the county jail in Coupeville on a $500,000 bond.

If convicted on both charges, DeMerchant faces a prison sentence between 21 years and nine months to 27 years and five months.

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