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Eastern State Hospital CEO resigns amid investigation into handling of allegations against former nurse

Mark Kettner resigned on Sept. 14 and his role in the investigation over the handling of Joshua Phillips' DV allegations is closed.
Credit: KREM

SPOKANE, Wash. — The CEO of Eastern State Hospital resigned from his position amid an investigation into how domestic violence allegations against a former nurse, who is now accused of murder, were handled.

According to Washington State Department of Social and Health Service Spokesperson Tyler Hemstreet, Mark Kettner resigned on Sept. 14 and his role in the investigation is closed.

The former nurse, Joshua Phillips, is accused of killing Kassie, who was also an Eastern State employee, and attempting to kill her 5-year-old daughter. KREM 2 is intentionally not sharing the victims' last names to protect the child's privacy.

The Inlander reported back in May that Phillips was previously arrested for choking a different co-worker he dated at the hospital. The alt-weekly publication said Phillips was allowed to return to work because there was no internal investigation and the hospital didn’t report the allegations to the state health department. Staff warned management that he was dangerous but their concerns were dismissed before Kassie was killed, the Inlander reported.

Phillips is charged with second degree murder and second degree attempted murder. He’s expected to make a court appearance Oct. 15 on 8:30 a.m.

Kassie was found dead in her home on North Adams Street on Sunday, April 11 and her daughter, Lilly, remains hospitalized after suffering injuries in the attack. The Spokane County Medical Examiner said Kassie died from multiple stab wounds and confirmed her manner of death as homicide.

Court records indicate Phillips has a criminal history dating back to 2001, with charges including domestic violence, disorderly conduct and malicious mischief.