From King County online court documents, two followups of note tonight:
MURDER CHARGE REDUCED: A year and a half after 35-year-old Travis Hood was shot and killed just outside Morgan Junction Park, the charge faced by his suspected killer was reduced today to second-degree murder. Lovett Chambers, arrested at his Gatewood home shortly after the shooting in January 2012, originally was charged with first-degree murder. (Details of the alleged circumstances are in our original report published when that charge was filed.) Changes in charges often accompany plea bargains, but in this case, court documents indicate plans for a trial are still moving forward, though its start date was pushed back again, and is now penciled in as November 5th. The document noting the delay says more time is needed because, among other reasons, the defense is calling a witness specializing in Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and self-defense, and prosecutors are preparing a response. The only reason given in documents for the reduced charge is that it “more accurately reflects the defendant’s conduct.” As soon as we found these documents, we put in a request for comment from the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, but it was late in the day and we did not hear back, so we’ll ask again Monday.
CAR-RAMMING CASE: As first reported here Thursday night, the 23-year-old man suspected of stealing a pickup truck on Alki Tuesday and then ramming two other occupied cars – one, a Seattle Police car – was set free the day after his arrest. The King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office told us Thursday a judge (whom we have since confirmed through documents was District Court Judge Johanna Bender) did not find “probable cause” to keep him in custody until a decision on charges could be made. However, District Court files we found online today show that a $10,000 arrest warrant was issued for him that same day, because he hadn’t shown up for a court hearing on Monday related to a case involving an arrest July 13th in Seatac, with allegations of reckless driving and failure to comply with police. On July 15th, documents show, he was released on his own recognizance, despite a substantial criminal history.