Ella Stewart in court - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Ella Stewart in court

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KENNEWICK, Wash--  The question of competency is no longer a factor in the Ella Stewart case.  Stewart faces multiple charges of animal cruelty after sheriff's deputies found almost 400 dogs living in what they called 'deplorable' conditions.    

Stewart's attorney says a new test by Eastern State Hospital shows his client is competent to stand trial.  But we're told there may be a plea bargain soon.

"I like the preliminary discussions that are coming down the line," Stewart's attorney Peyman Younesi explains.  "My hat goes off to the prosecutor's office, who is always there for me to knock on the door and pitch an idea to them.  But again, anyone can reject it, including Ms. Stewart."

Stewart's next court date is scheduled for the June 24th.  We *could* know at that time if any plea deals are being accepted.