SEATTLE -- Dr. Louis Chen, who is charged with killing his longterm partner and their toddler son, pleaded not guilty in King County Superior Court Monday to two counts of aggravated first-degree murder.
Also, prosecutors agreed Monday to postpone a decision on whether to seek the death penalty until late November, a month longer than the standard 30 day assessment.
Chen, 39, was set to begin work at Virginia Mason Medical Center on Aug. 11 when a concerned hospital representative went to Chen's penthouse apartment and found Chen nude, semiconscious and covered in blood, according to documents filed in King County Superior Court.
Charging documents say Chen's eye was swollen shut and that he was slumped over when police arrived.
The body of his partner, Eric Cooper, 29, was found in the living room. Police and prosecutors say he had been stabbed or slashed more than 100 times.
The couple's son, Cooper Chen, 2, was found dead in the bathtub. He had numerous wounds to his neck, according to charging documents.
Five bloodstained knives were found in the apartment, according to charging documents.
Louis Chen suffered undisclosed injuries and was hospitalized. When he was released last week, he was booked in the King County Jail.
According to Chen's friends and one of Cooper's relatives, the couple met when Chen was attending the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine and Cooper was a 17-year-old student in Tinley Park, Ill.
Friends said their child was conceived with Chen's sperm and the egg of an anonymous Taiwanese woman and carried by a surrogate mother when the couple were living in Minnesota. The boy was born in Oregon and then brought to Minnesota where he was adopted by Cooper.
"They loved that baby. They adored him," said a friend of Chen's who spoke on condition of anonymity. "It was one thing they always agreed on, and it was really very sweet."
The couple had been together about 12 years when Chen accepted the position at Virginia Mason after completing a fellowship in endocrinology at Duke University.
Chen's friends said the couple had been planning to separate amicably when they moved to Seattle in July.
Their intention was to settle into their new city while living together for the sake of the child.
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