Topic: Pierce County Superior Court
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November 25, 2013 at 4:58 PM
The Associated Press
LAKEWOOD, Pierce County — Police say a 29-year-old man wanted in connection with a 2012 homicide has been arrested after a police pursuit.
Lt. Chris Lawler says Jiffary Alexander Mendez was driving a stolen vehicle Sunday and led police on a chase. Mendez sped off but officers caught up with him when the car broke down. Mendez had an outstanding warrant for murder when police took him into custody Sunday.
The News Tribune of Tacoma says Mendez pleaded not guilty at his arraignment Monday in Pierce County Superior Court. He was ordered held in lieu of $1 million bail.
Mendez is charged with first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit first-degree murder, first-degree burglary and first-degree robbery in the death of Jaime Diaz-Solis.
Diaz-Solis was gunned down at a Lakewood apartment Nov. 12, 2012. Prosecutors contend Mendez and four others conspired to kill Diaz-Solis’ roommate and cousin, who they believed was a rival drug dealer but shot Diaz-Solis instead.
The four other men have been arrested and pleaded not guilty.
October 7, 2013 at 1:30 PM
The Associated Press
TACOMA — A Pierce County jury has convicted a 31-year-old Buckley woman of assaulting her 14-month-old daughter by squeezing bleach into the child’s eyes.
The News Tribune reports Jennifer Mothershead was convicted Friday and will be sentenced Nov. 15.
The prosecutor may ask for an above-standard sentence because the jury found the assault amounted to torture and the girl was particularly vulnerable.
Doctors found the girl’s eyes were badly infected when she was taken to Seattle Children’s hospital in the spring of 2011 with a head injury. Eyedrops found in a cooler the mother had taken to the hospital later were determined to contain bleach.
It’s unclear why she put bleach in the girl’s eyes. The girl lost vision in her right eye; she now lives with her father.
September 14, 2012 at 2:15 PM
A judge this afternoon found King County willfully withheld internal information on sheriff’s deputy Matthew Paul’s previous use-of-force incidents to the family of a man who was left permanently brain-damaged when he was tackled by Paul in 2009.
Pierce County Superior Court Judge Stephanie Arend ordered the county to pay the family of the injured man, Christopher Sean Harris, $300,000 in punitive fees as well as attorney’s fees. She also said she may award additional money if Harris’ attorneys can show they would have prevailed at a civil rights trial had the information on Paul been disclosed.
Arend said King County’s failure to adequately look for documents that outlined concerns over Paul’s behavior was “reprehensible and reckless.”
The family of Harris reached a $10 million settlement in 2011 after suing the county, claiming Paul acted negligently and used excessive force on May 10, 2009, when he shoved Harris into a wall in downtown Seattle. Harris had been mistakenly identified as a suspect in a bar fight.
Harris was left brain-damaged, paralyzed and unable to speak.
But last year, Harris’ attorneys filed a motion claiming they were entitled to additional money when they learned the Sheriff’s Office withheld emails and other information that documented concerns within the Sheriff’s Office over other use-of-force incidents by Paul. They asked a judge to sanction King County for failing to disclose the information and order it pay an additional $3.3 million.
Harris’ attorney, Sim Osborn, says the county should have disclosed the information to Harris’ legal team before the 2011 civil trial.
The case was heard in Pierce County to avoid a conflict of interest.
In court filings, attorneys for the county said that there were legal privacy restrictions banning them from releasing information about one of the complaints bcecause it was not upheld.
Court records also say that the emails documenting other concerns about Paul’s behavior did not surface until after the civil trial.
After today’s ruling, King County Sheriff Steve Strachan disputed the judge’s assertion that the Sheriff’s Office deliberately withheld the documents.
Paul remains a sheriff’s deputy.
July 5, 2012 at 12:00 PM
A Tacoma man has been charged with first-degree attempted theft and felony insurance fraud after he tried to collect a $20,000 insurance payment for a dead cat.
Trouble is, the cat never existed, says the state Office of the Insurance Commissioner.
On March 27, 2009, Yevgeniy M. Samsonov, 29, was involved in a minor traffic accident when his car was rear-ended while he was stopped at a traffic light in Tacoma, according to a news release from the commissioner’s office. Damage to both vehicles was minor.
Samsonov filed a claim that included chiropractic treatment of soft tissue injuries. The other driver’s insurer, PEMCO, paid him $3,452, the news release says.
Two and a half years later, Samsonov sought additional payment from PEMCO, claiming that his beloved cat Tom had been killed in the same accident, the news release says.
PEMCO issued Samsonov a check for $50 to compensate him for the cat.
But Samsonov then told PEMCO that he’d paid $1,000 for the cat, who’d been like a son to him, the news release says. He wanted $20,000.
He sent the company two photos he said he’d taken of his cat.
A PEMCO claims representative did a Google Images search and discovered identical cat images appearing on web sites, blogs and Facebook pages. The two images Samsonov submitted are actually of two different cats. Neither belonged to Samsonov, the news release says.
PEMCO canceled the $50 check and forwarded the case to the insurance commissioner’s anti-fraud unit.
Samsonov is scheduled to be arraigned next Wednesday in Pierce County Superior Court.
“We’ve handled some pretty unusual fraud cases, but this is one of the stranger ones,” said Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler.
June 15, 2012 at 3:32 PM
The Associated Press:
TACOMA — The father-in-law of missing Utah woman Susan Powell was sentenced Friday to 2 1/2 years in prison for recording images of two young neighbor girls in their bathroom.
Pierce County prosecutors had asked for an exceptional sentence of 10 years for Steven Powell. His attorneys sought zero to 12 months, saying it’s not clear exactly when Powell took the pictures, and it could have been before the state made voyeurism a ranked felony in 2006.
The 62-year-old was convicted last month.
Powell is the father-in-law of Susan Powell, who disappeared from her home in West Valley City, Utah, in late 2009.
His son and her husband, Josh Powell, killed himself and his two young sons in a February fire at a home in Graham. Josh Powell was the prime suspect in Susan’s disappearance.
Steve Powell was arrested last September after investigators searching his home for evidence in Susan Powell’s disappearance came across computer disks with what they described as thousands of images of women and girls who seemed unaware they were being photographed.
Those filmed, prosecutors say, included the neighbor girls, who were identified in court only by their initials and who were about 8 and 10 when the images were recorded.
Among the images recovered from Steve Powell’s home were many of Susan Powell that appeared to have been filmed without her knowledge, investigators said. There were also journals in which Steve Powell detailed his obsession with Susan Powell, they said.
Much of that evidence had been barred from the trial as unduly prejudicial against the defendant. Steve Powell was not charged with acts of voyeurism involving Susan Powell because authorities couldn’t prove she didn’t know about the filming.
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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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