Topic: Dan Satterberg
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November 14, 2013 at 8:54 AM
UPDATE 10:30 a.m.:
King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg this morning issued this statement in response to the state Supreme Court reinstating the death penalty in Christopher Monfort’s case:
“For the past 30 years, we have followed the same careful process in reviewing potential death penalty cases. We are pleased that the Washington State Supreme Court has upheld our exercise of discretion in this important case.”
The State Supreme Court this morning reinstated the death penalty in Christopher Monfort’s case.
Monfort is charged with aggravated murder in the fatal shooting of Seattle police Officer Timothy Brenton and attempted first-degree murder in the wounding of Officer Britt Sweeney on Oct. 31, 2009.
In February, King County Superior Court Judge Ronald Kessler ruled that Prosecutor Dan Satterberg abused his discretion by relying on a “flawed, practically useless” investigation into mitigating factors that could have merited leniency for Monfort. Leniency in the form of a life sentence instead of death. Kessler said Satterberg considered “minimalist mitigation materials” in reaching his decision to seek the death penalty.
Satterberg’s office appealed to the high court. Satterberg responded to Kessler’s ruling in a written statement, saying he delayed his decision and gave Monfort’s defense team nearly 10 months to submit his own mitigation package, even though state law requires that a prosecutor decide whether to seek the death penalty within 30 days of a defendant’s arraignment.
Under state law, mitigating factors in potential death-penalty cases can include evidence of an extreme mental disturbance or impairment because of a mental disease or defect.
In the beginning of this year Monfort’s defense team notified the court that it plans to pursue an insanity defense.
In their decision this morning, the state Supreme Court wrote that “the county prosecutor in this case properly exercised his discretion to file a death penalty notice. And we hold that the trial court improperly intruded upon that subjective determination when it held the prosecutor to a higher standard.”
Kessler’s ruling came down within weeks after another King County Superior Court judge tossed out the death penalty in another case due to the evidence Satterberg considered when deciding to pursue a capital case. That case, which involved a former couple accused of killing a family of six in the Carnation-area on Christmas Eve 2007, was also heard before the Supreme Court. In September, justices overruled the Superior Court judge and ordered the trials of Michele Anderson and her former boyfriend Joseph McEnroe to proceed.
Monfort is accused of shooting Brenton, 39, and Sweeney, an officer-trainee who is now 36, while they were seated in their parked patrol car in the Leschi neighborhood. Authorities say Monfort had intentionally targeted officers.
The shooting came nine days after Monfort reportedly firebombed four police vehicles at a city maintenance yard. Police said one of the makeshift bombs was set to go off as police and firefighters arrived to investigate the initial blasts.
A note left behind at the arson site railed against police brutality, police said.
On Nov. 6, Monfort was shot by Seattle police detectives after he allegedly tried to shoot Seattle police Sgt. Gary Nelson during a confrontation outside Monfort’s Tukwila apartment. When police later searched Monfort’s apartment, they found an arsenal of guns, explosives and a manifesto opposing police brutality, police said.
As a result of the shooting, Monfort is paralyzed from the waist down.
Monfort is also charged with arson and two additional counts of attempted first-degree murder — for allegedly pointing a gun at Nelson and for allegedly trying to kill officers at the scene of the firebombings.
November 8, 2013 at 4:40 PM
King County Executive Dow Constantine has ordered an inquest into the fatal shooting of a man killed by Seattle police in August after he shot and wounded a Metro bus driver.
Martin Anwar Duckworth, 31, described as a street criminal with a history of drug offenses and mental-health problems, attacked the driver, DeLoy Dupuis, on Aug. 12.
Police say the man shot Dupuis after boarding the bus in the 1300 block of Third Avenue in downtown Seattle. Duckworth then tried to carjack a delivery truck and a car before boarding a second bus and raising his gun and pointing it at officers, according to a news release sent out by Constantine’s office.
Police fired several rounds, fatally wounding Duckworth.
On his Facebook page, Duckworth had described himself as a self-employed barber.
King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg recommended the inquest after his office reviewed investigative materials.
Inquests are fact-finding hearings conducted before a six-member jury and are routinely called to determine causes and circumstances of any death involving a member a King County law-enforcement agency.
October 25, 2013 at 3:37 PM
Tony Ng, one of three men convicted in the 1983 Wah Mee Massacre, has been granted parole.
On Friday, three members of the state Indeterminate Sentence Review Board voted in favor of releasing Ng, whose full name is Wai-Chiu Ng. The fourth board member, Kecia Rongen, voted against his release.
Ng, now 56, was convicted of 13 counts of first-degree robbery and one count of second-degree assault with a deadly weapon for his role in the 1983 robbery and slaying of 13 people at the Wah Mee gambling club in the Chinatown International District. He was sentenced to a minimum of five years in prison for most of the robbery counts.
Wah Mee was an exclusive gambling and social club. On Feb. 18, 1983, Ng, Fai “Willie” Mak and Benjamin Ng (no relation to Tony Ng), entered the club, hogtied the 14 occupants — one of whom survived — robbed them and shot each in the head.
He has been before the parole board six times.
“It was a really tough decision. It took us quite a while; his hearing was in August. We pondered it and mulled it over,” said Lynne DeLano, who chairs the sentencing review board. “This was the second time I’ve sat in on a hearing for him. He talked to a large degree about the crime itself and his role in it.”
“He has consistently denied he was involved in the shooting. He seemed to express empathy for the victims,” DeLano said. “It seemed real, his remorse.”
According to Indeterminate Sentence Review Board staff there were people who contacted them to oppose Ng’s release. Board officials declined to release names other than to say they were “survivors.”
Doris Wong Estridge, whose father’s third cousin, Wing Wong, was killed in the massacre, has long lobbied for Ng to stay in prison for the rest of his life in prison.
When reached on Friday, Estridge said “wow” and was relieved when she learned that Ng faces deportation to China.
DeLano said she and Rongen traveled to Stafford Creek Corrections Center, in Aberdeen, to meet Ng in August.
“Tony has been a model inmate,” DeLano said.
Rongen could not be reached for comment.
In a 2009 interview with Northwest Asian Weekly, Ng said he was sorry for what he did.
“I always ask myself why. Why wasn’t I strong enough to say no? Why did I have to create such a bad name for my family? They are good people,” according to the story.
Mak and Benjamin Ng were convicted of multiple counts of murder and are serving life sentences without the possibility of parole. All three men were sentenced under the state’s old sentencing guidelines.
King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg opposed Tony Ng’s release, saying that if Ng been convicted under current Washington law, he would have been sentenced to a specific period of time, which almost certainly would have been much longer than what he will ultimately serve. The firearm enhancements alone would carry a 70-year term, without reduction for “good time.”
“The Wah-Mee Massacre stands as the worst mass murder in Seattle history,” said King County Prosecuting Attorney Dan Satterberg, “and it seems incomprehensible that one of the participants will soon be free.
“There is little doubt that Tony Ng caught some breaks in his favor that he did not deserve,” Satterberg concluded, “but the verdict of the jury set in motion the possibility of his eventual release.”
It’s unclear when Ng will be released from the Department of Corrections. When he is, he will be turned over to federal immigration authorities because he’s a Chinese citizen, authorities said.
October 3, 2013 at 1:44 PM
With more than a year to go until the election, it seems that King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg might have some competition from a former colleague and a high-ranking member of City Attorney Pete Holmes’ staff.
This morning Satterberg celebrated his campaign kick-off inside a packed ballroom at the Sheraton Seattle. King County Executive Dow Constantine, Sheriff John Urquhart, former King County Executive Ron Sims, retired municipal court Judge Anne Levinson, Pastor Doug Wheeler, Metropolitan King County Council members, defense attorney Lisa Daugaard and Seattle Police Chief Jim Pugel were among the attendees.
Satterberg, a Republican, spoke about getting tough on crimes against the elderly and harsh punishment for sex offenders. Levinson, Wheeler and even a former three-strike felon spoke on Satterberg’s behalf.
Stevan Dozier, who in May 2009 became the state’s first three-strikes offender to be granted clemency, talked about the support he had from Satterberg in seeking his freedom. Dozier was convicted in 1994 of three counts of second-degree robbery; he is now mentoring juvenile offenders.
Satterberg has been in the top job at the prosecutor’s office since longtime Prosecutor Norm Maleng died in 2007. Satterberg, who was Maleng’s chief of staff for 17 years, ran unopposed in 2010.
There have long been rumblings around both prosecutors’ offices about Craig Sims, chief of the criminal division at the Seattle City Attorney’s Office and a former senior deputy King County Prosecutor, jumping into the campaign. Yesterday, Sims posted a video on YouTube talking about concerns about how the office is being run. Sims never said he is running against Satterberg, but asked for people to contact him via email, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn “regarding new leadership and a fresh new vision at the King County Prosecutor’s Office.” He is asking viewers to share the video with family and friends.
“Over the past several months I have spoken with prominent community members regarding their desire for change inside the King County Prosecutor’s Office and a fresh new vision for our future,” Sims said in the video. “There has been a call for new leadership. There has been a call for a leader who is not afraid to lead, even when it may be politically inconvenient to do so.”
“I would like to hear from you. I would like to hear what’s important to you,” Sims said.
Sims could not be reached for comment.
February 4, 2013 at 5:07 PM
Lawyers representing the man accused of killing Seattle police Officer Timothy Brenton and wounding a second officer on Halloween night in 2009 plan to pursue an insanity defense.
Christopher Monfort’s lawyers have notified King County Superior Court that he will plead not guilty by reason of insanity. Monfort, 42, is facing the death penalty if he’s convicted of the ambush slaying of Brenton.
“With respect to the charges, Mr. Monfort, due to a mental disease or defect, was unable to determine right from wrong [at the time of the shooting],” Carl Luer, one of Monfort’s defense lawyers, said in an interview on Monday.
On Friday, Monfort’s defense team filed notice in King County Superior Court that their client is pleading not guilty by reason of insanity.
The King County Prosecutor’s Office declined Monday to comment on the Monfort case.
Monfort is charged with aggravated murder in the fatal shooting of Officer Tim Brenton and attempted first-degree murder in the wounding of Britt Sweeney on Oct. 31, 2009.
Monfort is scheduled to be tried later this year. However, it wasn’t immediately clear whether the insanity defense will delay his trial.
Luer said that the insanity defense will allow prosecutors to have him examined either at Western State Hospital or by other mental health evaluators.
Criminal defendants who are found not guilty by reason of insanity are sent to the state mental hospital for treatment. While they can petition the courts for release if their mental health improves, the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) can also have them incarcerated in a state prison.
If the DSHS chief finds a person found not guilty by reason of insanity to be “an unacceptable safety risk” they can ask the Department of Corrections to board them; though they are still under the review of state mental health experts, said DSHS spokesman Thomas Shapley. This was done in December in the case of Isaac Zamora, who killed six people in Skagit County four years ago.
January 22, 2013 at 12:06 PM
King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg is pushing for a change in state law that would allow law enforcement to access red light, traffic safety and toll camera footage while investigating crimes.
Wednesday, the House Public Safety Committee is scheduled to hear testimony on HB 1047. The bill would allow police and prosecutors to see photographs, videos and other recorded images from mounted cameras after they’ve obtained a search warrant. The measure, introduced by Rep. Cathy Dahlquist, R-Enumclaw, has bipartisan support.
Seattle police said earlier this year that they would have liked to check cameras while investigating two homicides. In April, Nicole Westbrook, 21, was fatally shot by a gunman in a passing car. Westbrook was killed in Pioneer Square, a short distance from where one camera is located. Investigators said they also would have liked to check cameras in the Central Area, not too far from where Justin Ferrari, 43, was slain while driving with his family in May.
No one has been arrested in Westbrook’s slaying. Andrew Jermain Patterson has been charged with second-degree murder in connection with Ferrari’s death. Patterson had allegedly been aiming his gun at a man who had insulted him when he killed the Madrona man.
Washington is among the few states that bar police from using images from red-light cameras in criminal investigations. The way the 2005 law was drafted, even if a homicide, abduction or any other serious crime occurs within full view of the cameras, the images cannot be used by police, according to prosecutors.
November 28, 2012 at 12:29 PM
Under current state law, juveniles are getting the message that carrying a firearm is no big deal, so state lawmakers will again be asked to increase penalties for people under 18 caught with a gun, according to King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg, who is supported in the effort by both gun-control activists and gun-rights advocates.
“Washington State law is ridiculously lenient,” Satterberg said at a news conference this morning alongside Sen. Adam Kline, D-Seattle, who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, and state Rep. Chris Hurst, D-Enumclaw.
Also supporting the revamped legislation, which has failed to pass the past three years, is Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes; Ralph Fascitelli, president of Washington Cease Fire; and Dave Workman, of the Bellevue-based Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms.
Kline and Hurst — who acknowledged that they disagree on most issues — said they will be introducing legislation in both houses this coming session that would require juveniles who are charged with a first firearms offense to spend 10 days in secure detention. A second offense would bring a 15- to 36-week stay at a juvenile rehabilitation facility.
Additional offenses would see increased time in lockup, under the proposed legislation.
Though a curriculum hasn’t been developed yet, the proposed legislation would also include an educational element, so that teens would learn about the medical and legal consequences of gun violence.
Now, most juveniles caught for the first time with a firearm receive deferred dispositions, whereby they are released from custody and aren’t punished even if they violate court conditions, Satterberg said.
It takes five firearms convictions before a juvenile is sentenced to 15 weeks in juvenile rehabilitation, he said.
September 21, 2012 at 1:18 PM
A King County jury today found a 42-year-old man guilty of second-degree murder in the December 2010 strangulation death of a Belltown woman.
Gary Wade was tried in King County Superior Court for the slaying of Michelle Thornton, 43. Jurors deliberated for a day and a half before reaching the verdict, according to the King County Prosecutor’s Office.
Footage from surveillance cameras in Thornton’s building, fingerprints and DNA evidence led police to Wade, a felon from Utah who allegedly was selling crack cocaine to Thornton, according to charges. He was arrested in February 2011 at his apartment.
Thornton, who worked at a Queen Anne Safeway store, was last seen alive on Dec. 30, 2010. Her body was discovered Jan. 6, 2011.
Thornton’s purse, wallet and identification were found hidden in her apartment; the door key and her phone were the only items missing, police said.
Two fingerprints left on Thornton’s glass-top coffee table were matched to Wade, according to police. DNA swabs and biological samples from Thornton’s body were sent to the State Patrol Crime Lab, where officials confirmed that the DNA profile from the samples matched Wade’s DNA profile, police said.
“Michelle Thornton was murdered in her own apartment by a killer who tried very hard to cover his tracks,” said King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg in a news release. “Thanks to diligent police work by Seattle Police detectives and skillful prosecution, we were able to identify her killer and hold him accountable.”
Wade faces from 12 to 21 years in prison. A sentencing date has not been set.
March 6, 2012 at 12:49 PM
A former Seattle Public Utilties project engineer was charged today with 70 counts of theft for allegedly stealing nearly $1.1 million by diverting customer checks from water main extension projects into a private bank account.
King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg said it is the largest embezzlement of public funds in modern King County history. “I don’t know what is more shocking, the sheer greed involved in this scam or the simplicity with which the defendant allegedly perpetrated this fraud.”
Joseph Phan, 44, was charged with 67 counts of first-degree theft and three counts of second-degree theft. First-degree theft can carry a maximum prison sentence of ten years, but a standard range of 43 to 57 months in prison. He remains in jail in lieu of $750,000.
Prosecutors filed two special allegations in order to seek an exceptional sentence above the standard range. They argue that the thefts are a major economic offense and that Phan used his position of trust to facilitate the crimes, according to a statement released by the Prosecutors Office.
Police seized about $220,000 from Phan’s bank account. Investigators believe he also used the stolen funds for the down payment of a rental house, a car and to pay down credit card debt.
Investigators also are searching for other bank accounts where funds might have been transferred, according to the statement.
Phan was fired by SPU in February 2011 for accessing his own utility account and entering payments which were never made. In December he agreed to pay a $1,500 fine levied by the Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission for using a city position for personal gain.
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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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