The latest reporting from the Times’ criminal-justice team.
May 16, 2013 at 7:55 PM
A 47-year-old man suffered life-threatening injuries in a fight during a pool game at a Lakewood bar Wednesday night, according to police.
The man, whom authorities are not identifying, apparently was playing pool in the “Last Call” bar at about 11:30 p.m. when he bumped into another man playing pool nearby, Lakewood police spokesman Chris Lawler wrote in a news release. Then the other player allegedly punched the victim, who fell and struck his head on the floor.
The victim immediately lost consciousness, Lawler wrote. Police are looking for the man who punched him. He apparently fled the scene, the release says.
They are looking at surveillance video but are also asking citizens for help locating the man, described as a Native American in his 30s, roughly 5-foot-10 and 220 pounds with long black hair worn in two braids.
He was wearing a long sleeved white T-shirt and khaki pants at the time of the assault, police said.
May 16, 2013 at 4:44 PM
Recognize these guys?
Seattle police have released a collection of photos of suspected May Day rioters in hopes the public can help identify them.
In the wake of the May Day melee that ended with 17 people arrested and eight police officers injured downtown, Seattle police have been reviewing video, photographs and other evidence to investigate “all criminal activity” that occurred during the event.
The damage and arrests came at the end of a day of largely peaceful demonstrations promoting worker rights and pushing for changes in federal immigration laws.
Hours after that march ended, an “anti-capitalism” demonstration turned violent as demonstrators hurled rocks, bottles and other objects at police and storefronts.
To see the full collection of photos and video, click here.
If you recognize any of the suspects, contact the May Day 2013 Investigation Team at MayDay2013@Seattle.gov, or call 206-233-2666.
May 16, 2013 at 4:08 PM
Condemned serial killer Robert Lee Yates Jr., awaiting execution for the murders of two women in Pierce County in the late 1990s, is seeking an appeal of his death sentence in U.S. District Court in Seattle.
Yates, 60, a father of five and former Air National Guard helicopter pilot, has already had his death sentence upheld by the Washington State Supreme Court, and the U.S. Supreme Court has refused to reconsider that decision. Yates is now attempting to enter the federal district court system by seeking a petition for habeas corpus.
Even though Yates does not currently have an execution date, U.S. District Judge Ricardo Martinez ordered a stay until September, pending the filing of the formal petition. Martinez said that Yates has raised at least one “nonfrivolous ground for relief.” He also appointed two attorneys to represent him on appeal.
Yates, who has confessed and pleaded guilty to 13 other murders in Spokane, Walla Walla and Skagit counties, alleges in a petition filed Wednesday that he was denied effective counsel during his 2002 trial in Pierce County. He alleges his attorneys failed to adequately investigate and present to the jury evidence of mental illness or present “evidence of Yates’s many positive relationships, his acts of caring and kindness, and his love he feels for his family and they feel for him.”
“Robert Yates has repeatedly killed,” the motion states. “Understanding and explaining why … is the most basic duty of competent capital counsel.
“Trial counsel failed to meet that obligation in this case,” the motion says.
The motion states that Yates is mentally ill and that, “through no fault of his own, Mr. Yates suffers from a severe paraphilic disorder” that predisposed him to commit sex-killings.
“I don’t think Mr. Yates helps his cause by relying on the fact that he’s a necrophiliac,” said Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist.
Yates killed at least 15 people, mostly prostitutes, between 1996 and 1998. He received a plea deal and 408 years in prison in 2000 for confessing to 13 of the murders.
Prosecutors in Pierce County, where two of the women were killed, sought and obtained a death penalty in 2002 for the deaths of Melinda Mercer, 24, in 1997 and Connie LaFontaine Ellis, 35, in 1998.
May 16, 2013 at 3:45 PM
King County sheriff’s deputies arrested six people at a Shoreline house Thursday and seized black-tar heroin, methamphetamine, firearms, stolen property, a pipe bomb and $5,000 in cash, a sheriff’s spokeswoman said.
Deputies served a search warrant early Thursday in the 1300 block of North 169th Street after neighbors complained of suspicious activity at the rental house, including vehicles making short visits, said Sgt. Katie Larson.
The pipe bomb was determined to be unstable for transport and was detonated at the scene, Larson said.
Two firearms — a shotgun and handgun — were recovered, as were homemade blasting caps, she said.
The stolen property included computers, power tools, computers and musical instruments and equipment, all valued at more than $100,000, according to Larson.
Investigators believe the six suspects — three men and three women — traded drugs for items taken in car prowls and burglaries in the Seattle area. But they also were looking into whether the suspects stole items, Larson said.
Deputies previously served a search warrant on the house in August and arrested tenants with ties to white supremacist activities, Larson said. In that case, deputies seized drugs, weapons, body armor and possible blasting caps, she said.
Other people were arrested Thursday, although one might be from the previous group, Larson said.
The house was cleaned up and the landlord rented it again, but it returned to “right back to where it was,” Larson said.
May 16, 2013 at 11:10 AM
By NICHOLAS K. GERANIOS
UPDATE: 2:20 p.m. | SPOKANE — Two mailings that contained the deadly poison ricin were intercepted at a U.S. Postal Service facility in Spokane this week.
The FBI is investigating the incident, but providing few details.
The FBI says there have been no reports of illness connected to the letters, which were intercepted Wednesday.
The FBI, along with Postal Service investigators, is searching for the sender of the letters, which were post-marked Tuesday in Spokane.
Ricin is a highly toxic substance made from castor beans. As little as 500 micrograms — an amount the size of the head of a pin — can kill an adult.
May 16, 2013 at 10:36 AM
OLYMPIA (AP) — The murder-suicide in which Josh Powell killed his two young sons and himself in a fiery explosion on Feb. 5, 2012, in Graham, was the worst fatal fire in the state last year.
The state fire marshal’s office says no other fire had more than three deaths.
The total number of fire deaths last year in Washington was 63, down from 71 in 2011.
Deputy State Fire Marshal Lysandra Trejo says the numbers are within the normal fluctuation. The rate of 11 deaths per million people ranked Washington the 27th lowest in the nation.
According to the annual report on fire fatalities released this week, 78 percent of the fatal fires occurred in homes. Electrical (18 percent), smoking (14 percent) and home heating accidents (11 percent) were the leading causes.
May 16, 2013 at 9:07 AM
NINE MILES FALLS (AP) — Spokane police shot and killed a man in Nine Mile Falls early Thursday when they confronted him following a fatal shooting in Spokane.
The men involved in the fatal shooting knew each other and were known to police, said Police Chief Frank Straub.
Police spokeswoman Monique Cotton says investigators aren’t saying how they knew each other, but the shooting is not gang-related.
The victim was found about 1 a.m. in a street.
Witnesses gave police suspect and car information that led them to a house in Nine Mile Falls, just northwest of the city.
When officers attempted to contact the suspect about 1:30 a.m., shots were fired and the man was killed.
The Spokesman-Review reports Straub praised officers for their quick response in seeking the man shot by police.
No officers were hurt.
May 15, 2013 at 11:05 PM
The state fined seven moving companies in Washington Wednesday for operating without permits to provide residential moving services.
Most or all of the $5,000 fines for six of those companies will be suspended for two years and perhaps waived if proper permits are obtained, according to the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission (UTC).
But the state says it will not suspend the fine for one Seattle-based company, Jeff’s Express Movers, because its owner, Jeffrey Johnson, failed to appear in court. Several one-star reviews for the company on Yelp reveal angry customers who felt lied to by the company because they say it did incomplete moving jobs or claimed customers had reserved a truck for longer than the customer requested. Many of those reviewers said they would make sure the state knew about the way the company handled business with them.
“They sent me to the level of anger I had not thought possible,” said one reviewer, who described herself as a Buddhist who gives everyone the benefit of the doubt.
The other companies fined by the state include:
- A Father and Fast, Careful Sons Moving, owned by David J. Campbell, of Auburn
- Mark’s Pro Movers, owned by Mark Schueller, of Tulalip
- Professional Relocations Moving Co., owned by Wade Taylor, of Bremerton
- Smoother Mover, owned by Matthew Twiggs, of Richland
- Big Earl’s Moving and Hauling, owned by Thomas E. Harris, of Shoreline
- Advanced Moving and Packing, owned by Justin Suedel, of Seattle
The Washington commission that fined the companies says those looking to hire a moving company should verify the mover’s permit, compare costs with at least two estimates, and check online reviews. Moving-company customers should always get a written, signed inventory list from the company of all belongings being loaded as well.
May 15, 2013 at 7:37 PM
A Utah police department’s search at an Oregon farm for Susan Cox Powell, a mother who’s been missing and suspected dead since 2009, has turned up nothing.
The West Valley City Police Department hasn’t said why its detectives started searching the large farm in Scotts Mills, about 20 miles northeast of Salem. But Powell’s father, Chuck Cox, told the Associated Press that police had been searching the area for two days because it has ties to the Powell family.
The area searched is so wide that the lawyer for Powell’s estate, Anne Bremner, said that volunteers and cadaver dogs were needed to assist.
The investigation of Powell’s disappearance has focused on her husband, Josh Powell, who killed himself and the couple’s two young children in February 2012, and on her father-in-law, Steven Powell.
May 15, 2013 at 6:26 PM
A man accused of beating 16-year-old Tyler Parker to death on a Covington roadside Saturday has been charged with second-degree murder.
The King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office says Robert Thomas “Bobby” Green of Covington has a clear history of alcohol abuse and is being held at King County Jail on $1 million bail. Green’s previous violations include breaking a protection order in 2008 and, as a juvenile, fourth-degree assault and possession of stolen property.
Green told King County Sheriff”s detectives that he and a friend had been drinking before they saw Parker near their home in the 19400 block of Southeast 267th Street early Saturday morning, and that he thought Parker was a prowler. The two then approached Parker, who had been intoxicated himself that day, according to detectives.
Earlier that morning, Parker had been hostile with Sheriff’s deputies and identified himself as a gang member with clothing that supported the claim, court papers say. The deputies dropped Parker off at a relative’s house, but Parker apparently left that house soon after and walked toward Green’s home.
Green said that Parker identified himself as a cocaine dealer whose gang controlled Green’s block, according to court documents. After Parker made threatening statements close to Green’s face, the documents say Green knocked Parker down and started beating him. Green continued the beating long after Parker was unconscious, according to a witness who said he tried to stop Green.
“I didn’t know Bobby was going to freak out on him,” the witness said, according to court documents.
Even after Green dragged Parker’s body about three houses away, fearing retaliation from Parker’s gang, court papers say, the witness had to keep Green from continuing to beat Parker. Green and the witness said Parker was breathing when they left him, according to the papers, but when they came back and poured beer on his face to wake him up, they realized he was dead.
After someone tipped law enforcement about Green and the beating, Green told detectives that he had beaten others severely in the past as well, according to court papers.
“You get hit a few times, you fall, you know, you wake up,” Green said to detectives, according to the papers. “You get up, you live to fight another, another, another, another, another day.”
But that obviously wasn’t true for Parker, who was found crumpled with blood streaked behind him and stomping marks on his face that matched shoes detectives found in Green’s home, court papers say. The King County Medical Examiner’s Office said Parker died of head trauma.
About The Today File
The Today File is a general news blog featuring real-time coverage of Seattle and the Northwest. It is reported by the news staff of The Seattle Times and edited by Assistant Metro Editor Nick Provenza.
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