Video: Morgan Junction murder suspect pleads not guilty

February 8, 2012 at 9:44 am | In Crime, West Seattle news | 23 Comments

We’re at the King County Courthouse, where Lovett Chambers has just pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder in the shooting death of (Michael) Travis Hood. His lawyer actually would not allow the suspect to confirm that to be his name (court documents have indicated multiple aliases); she also asked the judge to prohibit photography, contending that identity was still an issue, but – after the prosecutor pointed out that Chambers was identified by multiple witnesses and had the reputed murder weapon in his possession when arrested soon afterward – Judge Theresa Doyle denied that motion, so he was photographed by us and by the three TV news photojournalists who comprised the rest of the media corps today. Aside from the not-guilty plea, the only other action taken was to set February 29th as the next hearing in the case. It’s been two and a half weeks since Chambers’ arrest shortly after the January 21st shooting alongside Morgan Junction Park, two weeks since a first-degree-murder charge was filed. Chambers remains jailed in lieu of $5 million bail; we have video of the hearing and will add it when we’re back at HQ.

11:34 AM: Video added. Note that Chambers was not present for the first few moments of the hearing, while lawyers argued over the defense request to prohibit photography. Also note that the courtroom separates the gallery, media included, from the actual bench and tables where proceedings are held, with thick panes of glass.

23 Comments

  1. What is his lawyer’s name?

    Comment by Derp — 11:52 am February 8, 2012 #

  2. I don’t understand why his lawyer won’t confirm his identity; is he planning on using multiple personalities as part of his defense? Or maybe he is wanted under that name for other crimes? I don’t understand the impact of not letting the court know your true identity.

    Comment by Roundthesound — 12:05 pm February 8, 2012 #

  3. Thank you for your coverage of this case. So many strange things about it, I can’t wait to learn about the circumstances as it unfolds.

    Comment by Tbone — 12:27 pm February 8, 2012 #

  4. I don’t understand the defense strategy of not allowing defendant to confirm his name?

    Comment by Klk — 12:58 pm February 8, 2012 #

  5. Derp, you’ll have to listen to the video – I didn’t catch it though I will see if there’s a name on court docs resembling what it sort of sounded like. I have heard of Scott O’Toole, the deputy prosecutor, before, so that name, I did catch. – TR

    Comment by WSB — 1:00 pm February 8, 2012 #

  6. Also, shouldn’t witness names be removed from the video to protect their identity?

    Comment by Klk — 1:01 pm February 8, 2012 #

  7. If Cid was partaking in a mental evaluation process or seeing a psychologist for other troubles prior to the incident of that fateful night, that may help his case. He could plead insanity. But I’m no lawyer.

    Comment by jiggers — 1:24 pm February 8, 2012 #

  8. Thanks for covering this as we need to know what happened here. This incident really saddens me and has left so many unanswered questions. I hope the questions don’t remain unanswered forever.

    Comment by Gyngersnap — 1:37 pm February 8, 2012 #

  9. Why does this guy have multiple aliases? What was he using them for?

    Comment by HPH — 2:49 pm February 8, 2012 #

  10. HPH – Short answer, I don’t know. Longer answer, a researcher working for WSB has spent the past couple weeks trying to find out more about the defendant’s background, and it’s involved an odyssey spanning multiple states as well as names. Tidbits of information are uncovered but raise more questions than they answer, because records were kept in longhand (!) – but short notes – way back when. … TR

    Comment by WSB — 3:01 pm February 8, 2012 #

  11. Regarding the name, if there is some real question about the suspects actual name, and the lawyer knows this – he would be advising his client not to lie to the court about his identity. To knowingly allow his client to identify himself incorrectly would be subornation of perjury, which would have serious consequences for the lawyer.

    My guess is that it may be unclear to the lawyer exactly what the guy’s name really is, and he’s playing it safe.

    Comment by MAS — 5:28 pm February 8, 2012 #

  12. I believe this is SOP. The court wants to know what criminal is on trial, and the defense lawyer isn’t quite sure yet.

    Comment by Snow Wimp — 6:19 pm February 8, 2012 #

  13. Klk – that was an error on my part, though the names are already public record in court documents and other media reports; it’s our policy – which goes further than most – to avoid publishing them, and this would count as “publishing,” so I should have ended the clip earlier. Where it ends now, short of the no-contact order listing the witnesses’ names, is still in effect the end of the hearing – there was no further discussion or action after that, just some paper-signing. – TR

    Comment by WSB — 6:20 pm February 8, 2012 #

  14. SW – I’ve been to a LOT of hearings while doing this, and reviewed video of many others in my previous work, and I can’t ever remember something quite like this. Might be SOP for someone with multiple aliases, but that just doesn’t come up much.

    Comment by WSB — 6:21 pm February 8, 2012 #

  15. Define SOP?

    Comment by SKB — 7:05 pm February 8, 2012 #

  16. Let’s take a guess…, So Over Protected?!!!!!

    Comment by KD — 7:47 pm February 8, 2012 #

  17. MAS said:

    To knowingly allow his client to identify himself incorrectly would be subornation of perjury, which would have serious consequences for the lawyer.  

    .
    That’s a stretch, MAS. Defense lawyers knowingly “allow” their clients to lie all the time . . . if they think it’ll get the client off the hook.
    .
    What do you think OJ Simpson’s lawyers did? Do you think they urged The Juice to tell the truth? Meh.
    .
    Trust me. If you’re in court on a murder charge, not answering to whatever name you gave the cops who arrested you is NOT a good move. (For that matter, going by different names in different states is also NOT a good move.)
    .
    This dude’s credibility is already shot to hell. I would advise him to quit with the Mr. Mysterious routine from here on out. (But do criminals ever listen to me? Meh.)

    Comment by DBP — 7:50 pm February 8, 2012 #

  18. Sorry, all the boring old acronyms I would SWEAR are commonly used and understood … wind up drawing questions. Maybe generational (I’m a boomer, though at the youngest end). Whatever the case .. SOP = Standard Operating Procedure.

    Comment by WSB — 7:59 pm February 8, 2012 #

  19. DBP – I don’t understand. Are you claiming that what I said was wrong, and a lawyer knowingly allowing their client to lie is not suborning perjury? Or are you just saying that since it happens, all lawyers do it all of the time and never take jail time and loss of their license into account?

    Comment by MAS — 8:30 pm February 8, 2012 #

  20. O.K. I give…, what is “Meh?” DBP uses twice. Anyone know?

    Comment by KD — 5:33 am February 9, 2012 #

  21. http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=meh

    Comment by WSB — 6:44 am February 9, 2012 #

  22. I’m with TBone, we have a lot more to learn. Albeit, this career criminal’s story is going to get a lot more intetesting. Let’s hope, this time, his “debt” to society and to the victim, is much more severe the previous convictions. And, he WILL be convicted.

    Comment by WTF — 10:24 am February 9, 2012 #

  23. I personally know this man. I am still trying to absorb what happened. My best guess from what I know is that he has some mental problems. I doubt that there is enough evidence (actions) prior to the shooting to prove insanity. It would be a weak defense at best (although one might be insane at the moment of shooting a gun at anyone). It all depends on the circumstances. Self defense? That’s for the jury to decide.
    I knew nothing of his past criminal record, and reading it shocked me to the core. He is an unassuming, rather shy man who lived a quiet life among us. His actions aren’t in sync with the man I know. Such a tragedy, but no one really knows what made him flip out. Hope he gets a fair trial, and I wish his family the best. I am far more saddened by the victim’s death. This shouldn’t have happened.

    Comment by Blinky — 2:47 pm February 9, 2012 #

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