Queen Ax Hill

Most of 1990 was a scary year on Queen Anne. An intruder was breaking into houses and eating people's fruit. The residents of the hill, who normally slept with their windows open and at least one door unlocked, started battening down the hatches. Their quiet little life in a neighborhood of sprawling Colonial's and huge Craftsman's was being infiltrated by a banana bandit. On March 3rd, someone broke through the basement window of a house with a pickax and fled when the owner turned on the lights. He left the ax, which the owner still has. There had been no fruit in the home. 
Actual Pickax used in break-in
Then, on March 9th, a resident at 361 Newton Street, awoke around 7 am to find his back door open and an ax that had been stored in his carport, lying in his living room. The cops were called, the ax was dusted for prints, and it was placed on the back porch by the owner.
361 Newton Street
Then, just four days later, things took a terrible turn. 63 year-old Geneva MacDonald failed to show up for work that day. After repeated calls to her home went to the machine, a concerned co-worker paid a visit to her home at 1611 Bigelow Avenue, just around the corner from the Newton Street house.
McDonald home at 1611 Bigelow Ave.
Geneva's car was there but knocks on her back door went unanswered. It was unlocked and the co-worker went inside. Upstairs, in her bedroom, was Geneva's mutilated body. She had been repeatedly struck with an ax and stabbed with her own sewing scissors. Her throat had also been slit with a knife. The co-worker ran to a neighbor's and called 911. The ax, which the killer left, still had fingerprint dust on it and was immediately recognized by investigators. 
The killer entered through this back gate in the alley.
While the investigation was taking place and residents of the hill were installing security systems and motion detectors, the fruit fiend managed to strike again. A guest of a house just down the hill from Geneva's, was awakened by an intruder at the foot of his bed, holding a kitchen knife. He fought with the intruder and his hands and lower arms were shredded in the scuffle. The assailant fled the house and the man called 911. Now here's the messed up part. The operator tells him to walk a few blocks down the hill to the 7-11 at 5th and Valley where he would find two paramedics on their lunch break. His friend ended up driving him to the hospital. (You can't make this stuff up)  
7-11 at 5th and Valley on Queen Anne
Dozens of homes were broken into on the hill over the next few months but there was no suspect. On July 15th, an intruder entered a home on Queen Anne while the residents were sleeping and scrawled a series of obscene threats on the dining room wall. Then, in September, someone broke into a house at 3029 49th Avenue SW all the way in West Seattle. There, they ate fruit and wrote "The Killer is Back" and other messages on the walls and left an ax at the foot of the stairs.  
3029 49th Ave West
That same day, a West Seattle apartment was broken into and milk was poured all over the electronics. Messages were also left on a few walls. The intruder had changed neighborhoods, but only for a minute. A week after the West Seattle break-in's, a suspect was chased down the street after breaking into a home back on Queen Anne. Somehow, the homeowner managed to snap a shot of the intruder with an Instamatic camera. The man in the picture was 36 year-old James Cushing. Cops knew him well. Just a month prior, he was taken to Harborview Medical Center for psychiatric evaluation after he was seen screaming, yelling, and waving a knife near Kinnear Park on Queen Anne. He was evaluated and released to the streets. (I'm currently working on a story about a murder in that park)
Kinnear Park at 899 West Olympic Place
The police began searching downtown streets and local mission's for James. They found and arrested him on the corner of 4th and Stewart on Thursday, September 13th. 
Intersection of 4th and Stewart near Westlake Plaza
We learned he had become a recent regular at The Mecca Tavern at 526 Queen Anne Ave. and was dubbed "crazy" by staff and patrons. 
Mecca Cafe and Tavern
He also frequented Tower Records & Video (RIP) at the bottom of the hill, where he spent hours in the horror movie section. (Red flag) 
 Seattle Music Mural that was at Tower Records
A Quality Food Center now sits at 500 Mercer St.
Apparently, James' mother had contracted German measles before his birth, a disease known to cause brain damage in an unborn child. Right after his birth, he became severely ill with spinal meningitis, enduring temperatures of up to 107 degrees that further damaged his brain. His mother said he never cried as a baby. He later became obsessed with slasher films after finding his sister dead in 1989. He was also obsessed with the story of Lizzie Borden, who killed her parents with an ax in 1892. He had been in and out of numerous mental institutions over the years but doctor’s disagreed about how to treat him. Some even doubted his insanity. He once smeared the walls of his apartment with fecal matter and his mom had him picked up and sent to Western State Hospital in Lakewood for evaluation. There, two doctor’s petitioned the courts to have him held for 14 days. They said he required intensive supervised 24-hour restrictive care. One doctor's notes said, "Patient says he may kill someone one of these days.'' For reasons that remain unknown, the court denied the petition. "They let him out that day,'' his mother told the Seattle Times, "Just sent him out on his own. And not only that, to find his own way home from Western State. I picked him up in Tacoma. They just let him out the door.''
Western State Hospital 9601 Steilacoom Blvd. Lakewood, WA
His mental state was front and center at the trial. He pled not guilty by reason of insanity. In the end, prosecutors were able to convince the jury that James knew right from wrong. He was found guilty of aggravated murder, first-degree attempted murder, and numerous breaking and entering charges. He will spend the rest of his life at the the Washington Correctional Facility in Monroe. There is no possibility of parole. RIP Geneva.