West Seattle Crime Watch followup: What we’ve found out about the 47th SW burglary suspects

(Reader photo from Friday afternoon; Williams is the standing arrestee, French is on the ground)
Bail was set over the weekend for both suspects arrested after last Friday’s West Seattle break-in at a 47th SW home where a resident hid in a closet until police arrived (WSB coverage here). The suspects, both 20 years old, have warrants in other cases so we’re naming them though the charging decision in this case won’t likely be made before tomorrow: $100,000 is the bail set for James Michael French, who has a North Delridge address; $60,000 is the bail set for Donchavell Delrae Williams, who lives in Federal Way. His warrant dates back to May 2013, in an assault case for which the paperwork is not available online since it’s out of Juvenile Court; court documents say Williams had prior felony convictions for assault and taking a motor vehicle without permission.

French’s warrant is from earlier this month, involving what the state terms as “escape” from community custody, the technical term for probation, related to a conviction for a 2013 robbery in Des Moines in which he hit a gas-station clerk in the face while robbing him at gunpoint and knifepoint. French’s history, according to charging documents in that case, had by then also included an attack that inflicted rib fractures on a 58-year-old man who had just had surgery, plus other convictions including robbery, assault, harassment, and drug violations, dating as far back as 2008, when he was 14. He pleaded guilty in the 2013 case and was sentenced in May 2014 to 22 months, which would have included time he had already spent in jail by then. Both French and Williams remain in jail, according to the register, and are scheduled for another hearing tomorrow afternoon.

ADDED 1:08 PM: We’re adding state Corrections Department mugshots for both suspects (French at left, Williams at right). According to a DOC spokesperson, both were released from prison on January 5th, serving time in apparently unrelated cases.

57 Replies to "West Seattle Crime Watch followup: What we've found out about the 47th SW burglary suspects"

  • Diane January 26, 2015 (12:50 pm)

    jeez; is there any chance this James Michael French will NOT be released back into our neighborhood again very soon?

    • WSB January 26, 2015 (1:11 pm)

      What happens from here, who knows. Part of his documentation suggests he MIGHT be a three-strikes-you’re-out candidate, but I’m not sure yet. Meantime, in an odd twist, it seems they both got out of prison on the same day three weeks ago. Different cases. Adding to the story along with their DOC mugshots (for anyone who’s missed me explaining this before, the ONLY way to get mugshots is if suspects have served state-prison time, or if they are in the sex-offender database – city police/jail do not make photos available). – TR

  • Mr Elliott January 26, 2015 (12:50 pm)

    I hope these two young men reflect on the choices they’ve made and resolve to live better lives. If not for them, then their families and communities.

  • M January 26, 2015 (1:20 pm)

    @Mr. Elliot.

    “Reflect”? They were both just released from prison only 20 days ago. They seemed pretty eager to get right back at it.

  • Seattlite January 26, 2015 (1:24 pm)

    Two hardened criminals at age 20 with years of criminal activity. This why everyone needs to stay vigilant in their neighborhoods and communities.

  • BTsea January 26, 2015 (1:30 pm)

    Mr Elliott, these scumbags have already had time to reflect on their choices while they were in jail (for robbing, assaulting a man just out of surgery, etc). They clearly didn’t resolve to live without harming the community, so let’s throw the book at them already and protect law abiding citizens from their psychopathic behavior. I hope they get a very very long sentence.

  • chuck and sally's van man January 26, 2015 (1:31 pm)

    Such a waste of youth. Looks can be deceiving; if you told me these two clean-cut kids were employees of the month at their jobs I’d have no reason to think otherwise. But instead of working, they are preying on those who do. I don’t hold much hope for them, but given how young they are I do wish they could find better paths for their lives. They are all but out of chances.

  • Diane January 26, 2015 (1:49 pm)

    good point re “looks can be deceiving”; if I ran into either of these two at the bus stop, would likely engage in conversation like “so where do you work?
    as an early childhood specialist, this makes me very sad, and wonder wth happened to these children?

  • JoB January 26, 2015 (2:03 pm)

    if we want those released from our jails to get jobs..
    we have to make jobs for them to get..
    the sad truth is that in this job market they are the very last to be hired and the first to be let go.
    without public works jobs they find themselves on the streets without options
    just saying…

  • Brian January 26, 2015 (2:05 pm)

    Man, it takes a really skilled criminal to hold someone at gunpoint and knifepoint and then be charged with punching a person in the face…
    I mean, he’s either really good at punching while holding another weapon or he taped a knife to the end of his gun. I like to think it was the latter.

    • WSB January 26, 2015 (2:22 pm)

      Brian – I know that wasn’t necessarily a request for details but since that particular document is allowing me to cut and paste (I’m redacting the name of the victim), here’s how it was explained in the charge filed against French at that time – it wasn’t punching him the face, it was hitting him in the face with the gun, as follows:

      On 07/24/2013 at 0244 hours, the in-store surveillance camera shows an unknown, white male wearing a blue hooded sweatshirt and gloves on his hands; walk into the west door of the Shell Gas Station, located at 23031 Pacific Highway South, Des Moines, County of King, State of Washington. As the subject walked into the victim business (Shell), he was holding what appeared to be a black, semi-automatic handgun in his right hand. The suspect pointed the gun at the victim clerk … The suspect walked directly behind the counter, placing himself between victim … and the exit doors. The suspect was standing about five to six feet from victim … The suspect gestures with the gun, waving it around and pointing at victim … and the cash register. Victim … initially refused to open the register. The suspect became visibly angry and struck victim … on the head, just above his left eye, with the barrel of the gun, knocking off victim …’s eyeglasses. It appeared the gun broke when it struck victim …, revealing that the gun was possibly made of plastic. The suspect used his left hand to cover the broken area of the gun, while continuing to point it at victim … Victim … still would not open the cash register. The suspect then transferred the gun to his left armpit area and pulled a knife from his left pants pocket and pointed the knife at victim … Victim … opened the cash register and then stepped back. The suspect continued pointing the knife at victim … and would take a step or two toward him, then step back. The suspect then removed cash, approximately four hundred fifty dollars ($450.00), from the cash register and calmly walked out of the store through the west doors.

  • Born on Alki 59 January 26, 2015 (2:07 pm)

    jeez; is there any chance this James Michael French will NOT be released back into our neighborhood again very soon?

    Comment by Diane — 12:50 pm January 26, 2015

    Sorry Diane, No chance of staying locked up. He can…and will… likely be out soon by posting a mere $10K bond on his $100K bail. And that, my friends is what’s wrong with our current bleeding heart judicial system. IMHO.

  • garden_nymph January 26, 2015 (2:14 pm)

    Hearing how violent these two are, I feel that the victim, who called 911 from her closet, was VERY fortunate not to have met these two face to face!

  • Paul January 26, 2015 (2:22 pm)

    I usually chuckle at comments on here about light sentences, but 22 months for armed robbery and assault is a joke.

  • ACG January 26, 2015 (2:24 pm)

    Agreed, garden-nymph. Thank goodness.

  • dereck January 26, 2015 (2:53 pm)

    Hope they don’t get a plea deal! ! ! But then again I think the prison isnt the answer. There’s to much free time for them. They need more ways to be productive on the outside. Also they need more Counselors doctors who actually help with the mentally ill. And I mean not just for a half hor a week but everyday.

  • Diane January 26, 2015 (3:07 pm)

    thanks for the details TR
    agree, very glad our brave neighbor who called 911 with burglary in progress, is safe

  • plb January 26, 2015 (3:20 pm)

    What they REALLY need is discipline…it doesn’t exist any more. 80% of youth today show zero respect for authority. Teachers, principals, police…NO ONE!! AND teachers, principals are NOT allowed to discipline…HUGE catch 22.
    What we really need is parent involvement.

  • drahcir61 January 26, 2015 (3:24 pm)

    It seems many of these people arrested also have outstanding warrants for other crimes.

    And so when it’s sunny outside with the temps exceeding 60 degrees & I see someone wearing a hoodie covering their face, I just have to wonder … 65 degrees, sunny, & a hoodie, really?

  • heather January 26, 2015 (3:30 pm)

    I am just shocked at the long list of prosecuted criminal acts by these guys. Also that they were released on 1/5, then committed this crime two weeks later. It’s very frightening to think of what may have happened if they had discovered the homeowner hiding in the closet.

  • West Seattle Hipster January 26, 2015 (3:51 pm)

    “if we want those released from our jails to get jobs..
    we have to make jobs for them to get..”


    Jobs are there JoB, but employers are looking for folks that WANT to work. Have you checked King County’s unemployment rate recently?


    Those that choose not to work usually panhandle or steal, or live off public assistance. Making excuses for their behavior is shameful. They need to show accountability for their actions.

  • Eric January 26, 2015 (3:58 pm)

    Man this makes me want to scream. Why in the bleep is this French guy on the street? 22 months for armed robbery?!!! Are you kidding me?!!!! And assault on a 58 year old man?!!! Put this guy away for life

  • Born on Alki 59 January 26, 2015 (3:58 pm)

    Let’s see… French gets 22 months for armed robbery including assult with a deadly weapon.
    (robbery occurs 7-24-2013) He gets released from prison on 1-5-2015.
    This means he served approximately 17 months of an already light 22 month sentance for armed robbery with deadly force implied, assuming he was actually in jail the entire time between the robbery and sentencing in May 2014.
    What an absolute joke.
    Glad our brave neighbor is safe, maybe not so lucky next time.

  • Oakley34 January 26, 2015 (4:17 pm)

    Drahcir61- between your comments regarding hoodies and many, many recent comments on WSB regarding inclinations towards concealed carry and a (supposed) increase in WS private gun ownership I am starting to second guess my affinity for this particular item of clothing. Be vigilant sure, but please let’s not set out to demonize folks for their preference in dress, whatever the temperature. I wore a hooded long sleeve shirt today (of t-shirt weight) and had the hood up at times despite it being a 60 degree day. It is a comfortable and flexible garment, perfect for Seattle’s changeable climate. Even if it wasn’t….do we need to single out segments of society based on the clothes they wear?

  • onion January 26, 2015 (4:47 pm)

    Here’s another perspective on this. If both young men got out of jail on the same time, did they perhaps meet, bond, and develop their post-release plans while in jail? It has been said that many hardened criminals became hardened and more skilled (or ambitious) while in jail. Given the size of the prison population in the US, both in absolute numbers and as a percentage of the population, compared to the rest of the developed world I’d say that we and our lock-em-up-and-throw-away-the-key philosophy have failed rather miserably.

  • cj January 26, 2015 (5:02 pm)

    Considering how many people we have on the streets with no place to go and some perhaps no food, the idea of staying in jail where 3 slops and a flop are guaranteed might be an influence.

  • Eric1 January 26, 2015 (5:22 pm)

    Actually, a lock them up and throw away the key would work (by definition). However, our soft on crime catch-and-release is the problem.
    Mr. French wouldn’t have been out if the prosecutor had gotten him 5 years for a gun crime plus time for the assault. It was on video, how could that be disputed? Obviously, the charges were reduced to save time and money. I’d rather they try and fail for 15 years rather than settle for 1.5 years for that kind of violence.

  • howdy January 26, 2015 (5:41 pm)

    Looks like these guys were eager to get locked up again. Maybe the prison system is too soft.

  • Winslow January 26, 2015 (5:51 pm)

    Both of these individuals have an aggressive and violent history. They are no longer juveniles and clearly predatory. We don’t have the options of ” work study” programs for the socially challenged, and it’s true our jails are overcrowded. But these two do not belong on the street. Very very glad their last intended victim was able to call police from a safe place and appreciate the mug shots. Would be nice if the rest of the process, including prosecution and a sentence for reasonable “time” in some venue that opens their eyes would follow. Sadly, that’s not likely.

  • Ttt January 26, 2015 (5:55 pm)

    Career criminals in the making. Pathetic. Parents ignoring their children’s misbehavior when they were young, or modeling bad behavior in front of these guys probably had something to do with it, but they are adults now and need to get their act together or some homeowner will end up shooting them in defense someday.

  • Kim January 26, 2015 (6:22 pm)

    What I really want to hear is from someone who knew these guys as children: relatives, neighbors, teachers, etc. Who were they? What were their childhoods like? What kind of issues did they have? Yeah, I hear you guys saying, “Lock ’email up/throw away the key”, but I’d say they’ve been locked up in their own personal hell for a long time, and the key to unraveling their lives probably takes more time/money/resources than are available.
    I’d really like to hear the trajectory of their lives.

  • Brenda January 26, 2015 (7:26 pm)


  • datamuse January 26, 2015 (7:45 pm)

    80 percent, plb? Really? Most of the kids I meet are just fine. Maybe I’ve just been lucky.

  • Cheetah fast dad January 26, 2015 (8:10 pm)

    The “resident” was a minor. This is downright scary. Sentencing ranges need to be up to the maximum

  • m January 26, 2015 (8:34 pm)

    @Oakley34 I would call wearing a hoodie up in 60 degree “suspicious”. Not unlike unlocking my car with a cloths hanger

  • WTF January 26, 2015 (9:55 pm)

    These PsOS. Why couldn’t they have burglarized someone who had Smith & Wesson with them, and save us all time and money. These two will NEVER be reformed. They will either be killed in prison or on the streets before their 30th birthdays. At 20; they are adults and their choices to live violent lives is 100% free will. And those choices will not end well. I just pray they don’t take any innocent people with them.

    So thankful the terrified homeowner wasn’t physically hurt; the emotional harm and PTSD will be with her for a very long time; sadly. :'(

  • TM January 26, 2015 (9:57 pm)

    Well done A.S., you were smart and brave when seconds mattered. You got these punks off the street, and protected your property. A true hero…

  • drahcir61 January 26, 2015 (10:03 pm)

    @Oakley34 – My comment regarding hoodies HARDLY demonized anyone. Most sensible people understood exactly what I was implying.

    People make generalizations about each other, good or bad, every single day … get over it.

    As for my “many, many recent comments on WSB regarding inclinations towards concealed carry and a (supposed) increase in WS private gun ownership …”

    I make no apologies, I don’t like guns. And for those who feel that concealing their gun in public or that we need MORE GUNS in society to make us all feel safer, well frankly, I think you’re nuts.

    You have a desire to protect the public & use a firearm in a public place? Great, then join the police force.

  • Steviebeegood January 26, 2015 (10:24 pm)

    Next time voting consider your candidates stance on crime enforcement and not how much they spend on homeless services, bike lanes and metro!

  • Salt Spray January 26, 2015 (11:33 pm)

    These guys are examples of why preventive services are so needed! Southwest Youth and Family Services works with at-risk toddlers, youth, teens, families to get them on track for education, violence prevention, counseling, family stability, and much more. http://www.swyfs.org
    If we support prevention, we won’t have to throw “good money after bad” on incarceration. Think about it. http://www.swyfs.org
    Salt Spray

  • Mike January 26, 2015 (11:58 pm)

    WTF, the likelyhood any conceal and carry individual who’s never actually killed another human has of actually using it as a method of self protection is so far from realistic it’s sad people still believe they’ll protect themselves carrying a gun. It’s a different ballgame when you’re under serious fear, shaking, not thinking straight. People often can barely call 9-1-1 when they’re in this position not even facing a criminal. It’s not a Western movie, it’s real life.

  • joel January 27, 2015 (1:04 am)

    why is there an endless supply of money to keep re arresting these people. pay for judges, pay for juries, pay for prosecutors, pay for defense attorneys, pay for probation officers but yet there is not money to keep them locked up to begin with?

  • WTF January 27, 2015 (1:30 am)

    @Mike You better believe that if my family were in danger or threatened in my home, I would use what ever force I needed to, to protect them…and clear headed too.
    There is nothing fictional about violent repeat offenders threatening you. Wish you could ask the love of my life who was taken by one of these kinds of AHs. Ner’ a day goes by that I wish he shot faster and first.

  • KM January 27, 2015 (8:18 am)

    I’d love to see them get the maximum sentence, and then instead of the free time in jail, they can work picking up trash, removing noxious weeds, etc. Solves many problems at once: no sitting around in prison, doing work nobody wants to do, and hey, now they have a job, and the rest of us can benefit from it.

  • Eric January 27, 2015 (9:36 am)

    Good question Joel. I guess it’s about job security

  • JLo January 27, 2015 (10:05 am)

    West Seattle is becoming a haven for crime. Word gets around when these criminals are in jail that this is an easy place to find targets. It will only continue to escalate until something changes.

  • McGruff January 27, 2015 (11:03 am)

    Yeesh, those two yardbirds look like a couple of charmers for sure. I agree with KM; growing up in Georgia, ‘chain gangs’ were a common sight, picking up litter along the road, etc. My parents would use them as a cautionary fable to remind me to work hard in school and behave, or else I’d end up like them. It may sound simplistic, but ‘shaming’ forms of punishment are a lot more effective than you think.
    We should have those here, IMHO.

    • WSB January 27, 2015 (11:32 am)

      We do have work crews involving people under Department of Corrections supervision. Saw one at West Marginal Way SW/Highland Park Way heading in for what looked like an encampment cleanup, just the other day. They’ve also assisted with brush clearing along the Fauntleroy end of the bridge.

  • AK January 27, 2015 (11:16 am)

    @Mike —

    Defensive gun use is most definitely not a fiction as so many anti-gun folks would have you believe. Estimates vary widely, but if you chose to believe about 100,000 times a year people use guns is self defense, you probably wouldn’t be challenged by many people. Some estimates go as high as 3 million. (source http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Defensive_gun_use)

    For a more anecdotal view, head over to reddit at (http://www.reddit.com/r/dgu)

    And @drahcir61 — I have no desire to use a gun in public. In fact, my gun is to protect me and mine, not you and yours. If you’re getting mugged, I’m calling the cops not pulling my gun. There are too many consequences in terms of physical risk to myself and legal/financial risk for both myself and my family in defensive gun use for me to take that on for someone who isn’t near and dear to me.

    I reject the “sheepdog” role.

    Edit: I’ve tried to format this nicely, I give up.

  • garden_nymph January 27, 2015 (1:14 pm)

    @JLO All the crime trends, tracked by SPD’s SeaStat say otherwise. West Seattle is safer that most of the city. But don’t believe me, check for yourself. All the info is available on line.

  • joel January 27, 2015 (4:47 pm)

    the old tent city off of Highland Park….what is the city paying to keep that fence up? that’s a big fence they have been renting for the past 18 months

  • Beth January 27, 2015 (9:28 pm)

    Nothing is more irritating than when people start comparing our crime rate in and around Seattle with other cities. Seattle is its own city and us (makers) should be leaders in keeping it a safe and wonderful place to live, and one that is intolerant to crime…making it uncomfortable for criminals to live and “thrive” here.

  • Eric January 28, 2015 (4:37 am)

    I agree Beth, because in doing so, it is almost passively condoning the crime that is happening here. “West Seattle ain’t no Detroit!” I’ve heard people say. Well I’m sure at one point Detroit wasn’t Detroit either, but as crime grew and grew it became what it is today.

    We don’t need to try and downplay crime or make ourselves feel better by comparing ourselves with other cities or sections of the city and then feel like it is not that big of a deal cause those “poor” cities and/or sections of the city have it much worse than we do. With that kind of attitude, we will become one of those poor cities and/or section of the cities.

    In the past month, West Seattle has experienced quite a few of what I would call disturbing violent crimes. I certainly take no comfort in comparing that with other places and then stating either implicitly or explicitly that well at least we’re not “them”.

  • robertojosedelarosa January 28, 2015 (10:53 am)

    I’ve met Don Williams. Confidentiality law prevents me from being specific. However, having observed the behavior of this young man for a brief time, I may be able to shed some light on this matter. Firstly, as you examine the image of Don’s DOC mugshot, just realize the following; you are looking at an image of conflicted, alienated young man whose belief system is borne out of hopelessness. We haven’t lost Don yet, but it is just a matter of time. Like thousands of young “clients” of the criminal justice system here in King County and throughout Washington State, Don knows the system. Do your time, get out, try to make some money, get busted, rinse, lather & repeat. But, Don needs a job. Specifically, Don needs job-training. Not for a job paying $10 dollars an hour. But a real job utilizing skills requiring wages exceeding minimum wage. In the meantime, a well-paying union job is probably out of reach for a young, convicted felon. Also, without a draft, joining the military is probably not an option either. Resultingly, as Don becomes increasingly accustomed to institutionalization, the typical pattern emerges. That of a young criminal offender expanding his network of willing participants in future criminal exploits. Obviously, Don’s current predicament exemplifies this concept. Finally, what does the future hold for young criminal offenders like Don. Most residential burglars will eventually graduate to armed robbery. Some will branch out to bank robbery. However, the most conflicted and alienated among them eventually aspire to murder-for-hire. Good Luck West Seattle, & Welcome to the New World Order.

  • phil dirt January 28, 2015 (12:10 pm)

    I’m with you, AK. My legally carried, concealed handgun is to protect my family and me, and that’s it. The rest of you are on your own. But, like AK, I too will call 9-1-1 for you. The legal risk is too great to do otherwise.

  • Kim January 28, 2015 (6:53 pm)

    I hear you. What’s going on around here that can help these guys once they’re on the street? I know there’s Tia Torres with her Pitbulls and Parolees in NO. What possibly exists here? You’ve just said that if only for Don it’s not too late.

  • jeremy February 5, 2015 (10:32 pm)

    For the comment about the “3 strikes”…no he is not a three strike candidate…you can only get strikes on certain felonys (murder,manslaughter, assault 1st and 2nd degree, kidnapping, rape, robbery etc. Etc) these guys will be charged with residential burglary and each one of them will be out in 3 years or less…i gaurantee it. If your wondering how i know, its because ive done 6 years in prison myself and have 3 res. Burglarys on my record…not proud of it, but i have turned my life around

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