(April 8th photo by WSB’s Patrick Sand – Lovett Chambers, foreground, with lawyer Ben Goldsmith)
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
Five weeks after a King County Superior Court jury found Lovett Chambers guilty of manslaughter in the deadly shooting of Travis Hood in Morgan Junction in January 2012, his sentencing date is set: June 13th.
The judge who presided over his trial, Theresa B. Doyle, will oversee the sentencing as well. The King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office has not yet finalized a sentencing recommendation; the standard range for manslaughter is 78 to 102 months, and five years would be added to that because Chambers used a gun, but the baseline range would be higher if any of the crimes on Chambers’ record from decades ago count in his “offender score.” He was originally charged with first-degree murder, reduced last August to second-degree murder; jurors found him not guilty of that charge, but guilty of first-degree manslaughter.
Meantime, Chambers’ legal team has filed a motion for a new trial based on the racial makeup of the jury pool and jury.
The motion was made in the context of the defense’s contention that the victim and the key prosecution witness had used racial slurs toward Chambers; their key argument was that the shooting was an act of self-defense after Hood took a shovel from the back of his friend’s pickup truck and wielded it baseball-batter-style toward Chambers.
The motion says only one of the 200 prospective jurors called for consideration was African-American (as is Chambers). That person was excused from service by “hardship,” according to the lawyers’ document. The jury that decided the case, as noted in the documents, was all white except for one member described as “born in Bangladesh”; one Asian-American juror was excused mid-trial because of financial hardship, and one remaining alternate was Asian-American. The defense lawyers argued at the end of jury selection that their client couldn’t get a fair trial because of this makeup of the jury pool, and asked to start over; Judge Doyle denied the motion. No word yet on when this motion might be argued, or considered without a hearing for arguments – that, according to the KCPAO, is up to Judge Doyle.
The trial lasted three months – the first half, in motions setting the stage for proceedings before a jury; then, six weeks of evidence presentation (with court in session four days a week most weeks, as is standard, since even trial judges handle other business, including sentencings in unrelated cases, on Fridays), during which WSB was the only news organization in court for the entirety of the proceedings. Our coverage archive:
Tuesday 4/8/2014: The verdict
Monday 4/7/2014: Second day of deliberations over
Friday 4/4/2014: First day of deliberations over
Trial report, Thursday 4/3/2014 (Closing arguments conclude)
Trial report, Wednesday 4/2/2014 (Closing arguments begin)
Trial report, Tuesday 4/1/2014 proceedings (Defense rests)
Trial report, Monday 3/31/2014 proceedings (Defendant testifies)
Trial report, Wednesday 3/26/2014 proceedings (Last day before a 4-day recess)
Trial report, Tuesday 3/25/2014 proceedings (Five defense witnesses)
Trial report, Monday 3/24/2014 proceedings (Cross-examinations dominate the day)
Trial report, Thursday 3/20/2014 proceedings (Defense’s 1st witness continues)
Trial report, Wednesday 3/19/2014 proceedings (Prosecution rests, defense begins)
*(No court Monday-Tuesday 3/17-18 due to illnesses)*
Trial report, Thursday 3/13/2014 proceedings (Prosecution calls final witness)
Trial report, Wednesday 3/12/2014 proceedings (More blood-alcohol-level discussions)
Trial report, Tuesday 3/11/2014 proceedings (Interrogation discussion, autopsy photos)
Trial report, Monday 3/10/2014 (Confrontational video continues)
Trial report, Thursday 3/6/2014 proceedings (Car controversy; Chambers on video)
Trial report, Wednesday 3/5/2014 proceedings (Defense protests surprise, calls for mistrial)
Trial report, Tuesday 3/4/2014 proceedings (‘Police and a passerby’)
Trial report, Monday 3/3/2014 proceedings (‘Back to the background’)
Trial report, Thursday 2/27/2014 proceedings (Jamie Vause’s second day on the stand)
Trial report, Wednesday 2/26/2014 proceedings (Jamie Vause’s first day on the stand)
Trial report, Tuesday 2/25/2014 proceedings (DNA analysis, police)
Trial report, Monday 2/24/2014 proceedings (5 more witnesses)
Trial report, Thursday 2/20/14 proceedings (first witnesses)
Trial report, Wednesday 2/19/14 proceedings (opening statements)