Two reports in West Seattle Crime Watch this morning. Brad from West Seattle Cyclery (WSB sponsor) is hoping someone in the area has video showing the burglar(s) who broke into his shop early Tuesday:
we had a burglary early Tuesday morning. Approx 2:50am.
Mostly we had damage to the window, shattered but still intact, and the door glass broken out. We have had two attempts prior. The police were notified of both attempts and reports were filed.
After the two previous attempts we changed our security procedures at night. The changes helped reduce the inventory loss to just two 24″ kids bikes with a value of around $700. Glass replacement will be significantly higher.
There are a few more things we will be doing at night to continue reducing our potential exposure but the reality is we will never be able to reduce it to zero.
If any of our Junction neighbors had outside video from the time of the break-in, 2:40-3:20 am, please let me know (firstname.lastname@example.org). One of the bikes stolen was bright orange (SCOTT 24″ Voltage with disc brakes) so it should be pretty visible with color video.
Speaking of video, Heather shares this clip showing a package thief in action:
Just wanted to report the theft of a package from our porch on 37th Ave SW between Henderson and Trenton. It happened on the 15th of February in the wee hours of the morning. … The thief looks like a white female between 15 and 25 years of age, brunette hair. We’ve reported it to SPD and I’m happy to report everyone I spoke with was professional and courteous. They said absolutely share the info with WSB and said for crimes like these the community is often in a better position than police to locate suspects.
We didn’t lose anything of value and the merchant replaced it with no hassle. It’s more the idea of it. SPD confirmed that it’s important to report these types of things, even when the value is small.
Any idea who the thief is? Let police know.
By Tracy Record and Katie Meyer
Reporting for West Seattle Blog
The jury in the Morgan Junction murder trial has seen the most graphic evidence presented yet – autopsy photos shown by the prosecution as a doctor from the King County Medical Examiner’s Office testified Tuesday afternoon.
The photos focused on the bullet wounds that killed 35-year-old Travis Hood, and while, as it was reiterated, there is no dispute that the shots were fired by 69-year-old defendant Lovett “Cid” Chambers, the question at issue in the trial remains why he fired them, and the granular details of the wounds are incremental evidence for jurors to consider.
Tuesday, however, began with an ending – the conclusion of testimony from the Seattle Police detective who led questioning of Chambers hours after the January 21, 2012, shooting. He was followed on the stand by his partner, who was also part of the questioning, video from which has been shown the past few days.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
What Monday’s only witness at the Morgan Junction murder trial explained as a police interrogation tactic was on display, raw, in video shown to jurors.
It was a continuation of the video playback begun on Thursday afternoon, from defendant Lovett “Cid” Chambers‘s session with police in a downtown interview room in the early morning of January 22, 2012, hours after he fired the shots that killed Travis Hood (photo at right).
A shouting crescendo eventually was reached through both Chambers’ professed inability to remember exactly why he fired those shots and detectives’ insistence that his memory lapse was manufactured.
That dominated the day, which began with one juror leaving the trial.
Thanks to everybody who tipped us about a big police response earlier this evening near Delridge/Thistle. It was about the pickup truck in the foreground. Police confirm it was reported stolen, and that they have a suspect in custody. Scanner traffic indicated that its owner had called police while following her stolen pickup southbound on Delridge.
Three reader reports this morning in West Seattle Crime Watch:
STOLEN SUV: Tony reports from Gatewood this morning, “A 2000 tan Chevy Blazer was stolen on the corner of 39th and Willow. Be watchful, the car was taken from the driveway of the homeowner around 3:00 am.” Plate: ANJ1117. (Side note – the SPD crime-reports map shows 8 other auto-theft cases in the past week, a lower rate than last time we checked the big picture.)
HIT-AND-RUN #1: From Randy – this happened early Saturday on Genesee Hill:
About 3 am, the police were heard knocking on our front door. They informed me that our car was hit by an apparent hit-and-run driver. Our Saab was spun 180 degrees and came to rest against a utility pole. We had owned the car since new, 1988, and would save it if we could, but it is beyond repair. It can be utilized as an organ donor. The car was parked on SW Genesee outside our home kitty-corner from Genesee (Hill) Elementary School. The hit-and-run driver has not surfaced.
HIT-AND-RUN #2: Christine reported this via the WSB Facebook page:
(Friday) night around 7 just north of the post office on California, my visiting parents’ rental car was struck in a hit and run. There were some people out walking dogs and 1 nice women thought she saw the women who hit the car and them apparently a boyfriend came to help get the car and took off!
Contact police with info on any of the above – or any other crime. P.S. The next community crime-fighting meeting is a week from Tuesday; the West Seattle Crime Prevention Council meets March 18th, 7 pm, at the Southwest Precinct (Delridge/Webster).
By Tracy Record & Katie Meyer
Reporting for West Seattle Blog
For the first time in the two weeks a King County Superior Court jury has spent hearing the case in the second-degree-murder trial of Lovett “Cid” Chambers, they have heard his voice.
As is standard in a criminal trial, the defendant is in the courtroom for all on-the-record proceedings, so the 15 jurors (including three alternates) have seen Chambers (at right, WSB courthouse-hallway photo from Wednesday) day in and day out. But he has not been on the witness stand. Thursday afternoon, before the trial went into recess until Monday (March 10th), prosecutors played parts of the video recording made during the hours he spent in a Seattle Police interview room – sometimes alone, sometimes with SPD personnel – after the January 21, 2012, shooting by Morgan Junction Park that left 35-year-old Travis Hood dead.
The video playback came while Detective Cloyd Steiger was on the witness stand. It happened in two somewhat lengthy stretches – the first was mostly quiet, in which Chambers appeared to be resting on a chair in the corner. (The jury watched on the wide-screen monitor used to show evidence; the defense, and gallery, were in view of a laptop screen from which the video was being played back.)
Remember Michael Sean Stanley, the convicted rapist arrested in an Admiral alley in October after leaving Canada, where he’d been sought for cutting off a monitoring device? He has been in the King County Jail, serving time for harassment since pleading guilty in January, and it looks like he’s getting out this Monday as previously announced – the County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office says he won’t be charged with allegedly sexual assaulting a teenager before his arrest. The statement we received:
The King County Prosecutor’s Office has completed its review of a case involving Michael Stanley. The case is being declined for criminal prosecution because there is insufficient evidence to prove that a forcible sexual assault had occurred.
Canada does not want him extradited; he is an American citizen. At the time of his sentencing in January, the City Attorney’s Office noted that his history in our state includes burglary and DUI. Conditions with which he must comply in this case require him to “provide a DNA sample; obey written anti-harassment orders protecting the three victims; not violate criminal law; have no alcohol or drug offenses; abstain from marijuana; undergo chemical dependency treatment; possess no weapons, and update the court on his current address.” He will be under Municipal Court jurisdiction for two years.
After questions about a helicopter search in the Westwood/Roxhill area early today, here’s what we have found out: King County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Sgt. Cindi West says a 58-year-old woman reported being attacked near 26th/Roxbury (map) just after midnight:
A man called and said a woman asked him to call the police because she had been assaulted by an unknown male.
When we arrived, we contacted a 58-year-old woman who said she had been walking eastbound on Roxbury on the south side of the street. She said as she was walking, a man approached her and asked for a cigarette. She gave him a cigarette and then the man grabbed her and pulled her to a nearby lot. The suspect then physically and sexually assaulted her.
The woman was taken to Harborview for treatment. We attempted a K-9 track but did not locate the suspect. At this time the only description we have is a black man, approximately 25 years old, last seen wearing a dark hoodie.
Seattle Fire and Police responded too; SFD spokesperson Lt. Sue Stangl says the victim “was transported (by) medics in serious condition with face and head trauma.”
Three West Seattle Crime Watch notes tonight:
A burglary followed by an auto theft meant double trouble at K‘s home:
Our house on 47th and SW Hinds was broken into Wednesday morning when we were out for about 40 min. Rock thrown through the back window. Thief took all of the usual items; MacBook, small electronics, jewelry box. What we didn’t realize was that they’d also taken the spare key to my car and came back last night to help themselves to that too! Car was found totaled in Holly Park by police at 3am.
Car vandalism is the problem in Antonio‘s neighborhood:
I just wanted to submit that the Cottage Grove area has seen some car vandalism lately. My neighbor on 26th has recently had one of his car windows bashed out or shot out parked on 26th and there is an apparent BB shot targeted at the window of my mother in laws car on the same street. This same car was a victim of a hit and run very recently while parked on the same street. I remember too a few months back a neighbor on the corner of 26th and Hudson had the side of his car tagged up but I’m unsure if he reported it or not. I guess long story short, people should be parking in their driveways or garages until whomever is responsible is apprehended. It’s quite pathetic whomever is doing this vandalism and awfully costly for those who have go through the hassle of insurance claims and out of pocket deductibles.
And a quick mention – beware of counterfeit bills; a local Girl Scout mom told us a troop selling at Admiral Safeway was given a fake $100 bill while selling cookies earlier this week.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
The jury in the Morgan Junction murder trial never did re-enter the courtroom after lunch on Wednesday.
While they waited behind a closed door at the back of Superior Court Judge Theresa Doyle‘s courtroom – the door bailiff Nyoka Maraire opens multiple times each session before calling out, “Please rise for the jury!”– a drama played out just yards away, with the case’s future at stake.
Defense attorney Ben Goldsmith announced he wanted the judge to declare a mistrial – or, to at least have the jury be told to ignore the testimony of Seattle Police CSI Detective Kim Biggs, who had been on the witness stand all morning and part of the preceding afternoon.
Just before the noon break, Det. Biggs had been testifying about what she saw in defendant Lovett “Cid” Chambers‘s blue BMW, which has been in the SPD evidence-processing facility since hours after the January 21, 2012, fatal shooting of Travis Hood. She talked about going back for a look at its door locks recently. (They figure into the defense’s version of what happened that night.)
“Two weeks before the trial started, (prosecutor Margaret) Nave asked Detective Biggs to re-check the locks of the BMW. The defense was never told about this. We learned at 11:40 this morning when (Biggs) was testifying … that came as an enormous shock to us.”
A charge of first-degree murder is now filed against 20-year-old Jose Jesus Gonzalez-Leos of White Center in connection with the killing of his ex-girlfriend’s mother in High Point last December. He is the man arrested last Saturday on suspicion he killed 46-year-old Nga Nguyen, found dead in her closet on December 14th, from strangulation and blunt-force head injury. Charging documents say he broke into Nguyen’s apartment through a second-story window on December 14th after going there in hopes of speaking with the victim’s daughter. The documents allege he killed her with a motive including sexual gratification; evidence described in the charging papers includes DNA found on the victim’s body that matched Gonzalez-Leos’s saliva. He is described as having no apparent felony history, though, as we reported last Saturday, online records indicate he is facing charges of stolen-property trafficking in south King County, and court documents say he told investigators he is addicted to meth and marijuana. He is scheduled to appear in court on March 19th to answer the charge; his bail remains set at $2 million.
ADDED 9:18 PM: More information from the charging documents:
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
Punctuating two Seattle Police witnesses’ testimony about evidence, a passerby witness was put on the stand Tuesday by the prosecution in the Morgan Junction murder trial.
They started the day listing six witnesses they thought they would get through – but in the end, only three of them were heard from, the first one a holdover from Monday, the third one to continue today.
Between legal arguments and breaks, total testimony time tends to add up to about 4 1/2 hours a day.
As Tuesday began with SPD fingerprint examiner Betty Newlin continuing on the stand, questioned by deputy prosecuting attorney Mari Isaacson, the subject was fingerprints and their presence or lack of same on pieces of evidence in the case.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
It was back to the background as the Morgan Junction murder trial continued Monday.
With testimony concluding last week from key prosecution witness Jamie Vause, who says he saw defendant Lovett “Cid” Chambers shoot his friend Travis Hood, the lineup of witnesses returned to a focus on public-safety and criminal-justice personnel through whom lawyers wove threads of the story.
Three sections from the timeline of events were involved in Monday’s testimony, all taking place after the shooting on January 21, 2012:
*What happened when the Southwest Precinct Anti-Crime Team went to Chambers’ Gatewood home after he was identified as a suspect, as told by the ACT’s then-leader and two officers
Here’s our distillation of what the jury heard about all of the above:
Followup: $2 million bail for suspect in December High Point murder, ex-boyfriend of victim’s daughterMarch 3, 2014 at 4:17 pm | In Crime, High Point, West Seattle news | 8 Comments
Bail is now set at $2 million for the 20-year-old White Center man arrested Saturday (WSB coverage here) on suspicion he killed 46-year-old Nga Nguyen in her High Point home in December. Probable-cause documents identify him as the ex-boyfriend of Nguyen’s daughter, and say he has a history of “stalking” her. He was interviewed shortly after the killing, the documents say, and denied having been in the home recently – but investigators say fingerprints and DNA evidence at the scene matched his. The documents say that after being arrested Saturday and being read his Miranda rights, he confessed to breaking into the Nguyens’ home on High Point Drive on December 14th and killing his ex-girlfriend’s mother, who the Medical Examiner said died of blunt-force head injury and strangulation. Prosecutors have until Wednesday to file charges.
Three reports in West Seattle Crime Watch today, starting with this just in from SPD Blotter – heard snippets on the scanner overnight but now the police have a full report:
On March 2nd at approximately 12:57 a.m. officers responded to the report of an armed robbery of a citizen near California Avenue SW and SW Dakota Street. Preliminary investigation indicates that a man and a woman were walking on California Avenue SW when two black male suspects in their 20′s approached them. One of the suspects brandished a handgun and robbed the victims of their cell phone, money, purse, wallet and ipad.
The suspects then fled the scene running northbound in the alley on the west side of California Avenue SW. A witness saw a black male get into the front passenger seat of a white Lexus sedan. The Lexus was last seen driving eastbound from SW Bradford Street and California Avenue SW. The suspect vehicle is further described as a white Lexus 4-door sedan with gold trim and Washington plates. There are no further suspect descriptions available at this time. The suspects and suspect vehicle remain at large.
Anyone with information about this incident or who may know the identities or whereabouts of the suspects or suspect vehicle is asked to call 911 or Seattle Police and refer to this incident. Anonymous tips are welcome.
Speaking of cars – for the second time in two weeks, someone has taken Trevor‘s car:
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
Two more charges have been filed against 32-year-old Nicholas Broughton (right), the repeat offender arrested one month ago after stealing an SUV in Tacoma, getting detected by LoJack here in West Seattle – drawing the Guardian One helicopter (whose crew published video of the incident) – crashing the SUV through a fence, and breaking into a relative’s home.
By the time the new charges were filed, Broughton had been out of jail a week and a half, and while prosecutors asked the court to reinstate a higher bail, a judge told them no.
We discovered all this while making a routine check of the case’s status, via online court files; here’s what we found:
(WSB photo from December 2013)
4:12 PM: Seattle Police have just announced an arrest in the murder of 46-year-old Nga Nguyen, found dead at her home in the 5900 block of High Point Drive in December, the cause of death later described by the King County Medical Examiner’s Office as strangulation and blunt-force head injury. The announcement this afternoon on SPD Blotter says a 20-year-old man was arrested today:
On March 1st, 2014 at approximately 11:00 a.m. Seattle Police Homicide detectives, following up on information developed during the course of their investigation, arrested the 20-year-old male suspect at his residence in the 10700 block of 18th Avenue SW in White Center.
Homicide detectives interviewed the suspect and subsequently booked him into the King County Jail for Investigation of Murder.
There are no additional suspects being sought in this case, which remains an active and on-going investigation.
Police had hinted an arrest was near – as reported here January 21st, Capt. Pierre Davis told the West Seattle Crime Prevention Council that detectives were “working on something – hopefully they can bring something to a close very quickly.” The police announcement has no information about a motive nor whether the man had any prior relationship with or knowledge of Ms. Nguyen; we’re researching further and will add anything more we find out.
5:41 PM UPDATE: So far we have found two court cases listed for the suspect – in one, he is listed as the respondent in a protection-order filing dated four days after Ms. Nguyen is killed. The online court-records system withholds details and documents in these types of cases so we don’t know who sought the order. Also, a summons was issued for him to appear in court later this month in connection with a year-old case listed as trafficking in stolen property; the document contains no further details, but we are continuing to research. The suspect will almost certainly have a bail hearing in the murder case on Monday, and we will find out more then, if not sooner.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
The first full week of testimony in the murder trial of Lovett “Cid” Chambers is over.
Before court adjourned Thursday afternoon, jurors spent a second day hearing from just one witness – Jonathan “Jamie” Vause, who was with Travis Hood the night of January 21, 2012, when Hood was shot and killed by Morgan Junction Park.
Vause’s second and final day on the stand was something of a followup to Wednesday, and even more contentiously so, as it began in the middle of his cross-examination by defense lawyer Ben Goldsmith, focused on inconsistencies in his story dating back to his first statement to police, given in the back of a squad car at Providence Mount St. Vincent, where he had driven Hood after the shooting, thinking it was a hospital.
Two West Seattle Crime Watch notes this morning. From Dave:
Sometime last night between 10 pm and 6 am, our car was stolen. It was parked directly in front of our apartment complex near the intersection of 61st and Beach Drive. We had just purchased the car about a month ago. It is a silver 1996 Honda Civic hatchback. There are stickers on the back in the shape of the states NJ and CA and also a blue W sticker on the back window. Any help would be appreciated. Thank you.
We also have a report of a car break-in in the south lot at Lincoln Park – a window shattered, items taken from the trunk, including a Toshiba laptop computer in a maroon slipcover and a bag with cards, phone, etc. The victim got the bag back – it turned up “stuffed in my mailbox with a police officer’s business card attached” – but the laptop remains out there somewhere. Let police know if you find one.
SIDE NOTE: Car prowls were described as Lincoln Park’s most-common crime problem when the West Seattle Crime Prevention Council sponsored a safety walk at the park last year.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
“Quit talkin’ to me – talk to Jesus.”
That’s what Jonathan “Jamie” Vause testified he told his dying friend Travis Hood as he drove frantically away from where Hood had just been shot, toward what he thought was a hospital a mile and a half away.
Vause was the only witness to testify Wednesday at the trial of the man who shot Hood, Lovett Chambers, and he will be back on the stand today.
The fact that Chambers fired the fatal shots is not disputed – but the reason for the shooting is, as is Vause’s behavior preceding it. As laid out in opening statements last Wednesday, the prosecution contends he was a shocked witness who has no idea why Chambers, who had been drinking at the same Morgan Junction bar as he and Hood moments earlier, opened fire, while the defense contends Vause and Hood, both white, taunted Chambers, who is black, with racist insults and provoked a confrontation that led him to act in self-defense.
Yesterday, after prosecutor Margaret Nave led Vause through the story of his longtime friendship with Hood and the night he was killed – January 21, 2012 – defense lawyer Ben Goldsmith began the most intense cross-examination of the trial, first asking Vause: “You are a fugitive felon from North Carolina, is that correct?”
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
A 40-minute primer on DNA testing led off the third day of witness testimony in the Morgan Junction murder trial.
It was courtesy of state crime lab forensic scientist Katherine Woodard, who testified about testing evidence gathered at the scene of the January 21, 2012, shooting for which 69-year-old Lovett “Cid” Chambers is charged with second-degree murder.
The testimony most likely to be revisited later involves what she said about what was not tested – the passenger door handle of Chambers’ car, which he contends was pulled open in a threatening move moments before he shot and killed 35-year-old Travis Hood.
Besides Woodard, Tuesday’s witnesses were two Seattle Police officers who had been part of the response the night of the shooting – one where it happened, alongside Morgan Junction Park; the other, at Providence Mount St. Vincent, where Hood had been taken by his friend Jamie Vause.
Early in the day, Vause’s upcoming testimony was again the subject of arguments made by the legal teams to Superior Court Judge Theresa Doyle outside the presence of the 15-member (including three alternates) jury. The argument was about what he might say, how it might compare to a statement by a police officer, and how he might be impeached and subsequently rehabilitated.
The discussion wrapped up around 9:30 am, and it was time for testimony to begin.
Woodard, from the Washington State Patrol Crime Lab – which does testing for criminal-justice agencies around the state – took the stand (which is really a seat, a chair between the judge’s “bench” and the jury “box,” which also is really just two rows of chairs).
As with most expert witnesses, time was taken to establish her credentials – 12 years at the lab, after time in the private sector, with a degree in cellular/molecular biology. She estimated she’s testified as a DNA expert about 25 times before.
The courtroom’s big-screen display monitor was used for slides explaining DNA testing, narrowing in on the specific types done by the lab, particularly “STR” – short tandem repeat, looking at repeating genetic sequences that help distinguish individuals.
After explaining how testing is done, she was asked about “degradation” of samples, which included a mention that the person who last handled something is not always the person who will have the most DNA on that object.
This specific case finally became the focus after more than 40 minutes. Woodard recounted receiving for analysis a pistol, magazines, swabs from the shovel that Hood was holding when he was shot, and a small folding knife. These items were present in court, and some were handled during Woodard’s testimony – she and the lawyers all wore gloves when touching the items.
It was noted that she had begun working on the case in June 2012 – almost five months after Hood’s death and Chambers’s arrest.
She described what she swabbed and tested, and explained that the work was done in line with a “case scenario,” explained as testing “what’s likely to give us the best answers, a guide to go by.”
There was a “blood indicatory sample” on the shovel, found lying across the curb and street where it fell when Hood was shot. On the knife, Woodard said, the blade was found to have Hood’s DNA; the handle indicated DNA of two people, mostly Hood.
After an hour, prosecution questions ran out, and the defense team’s senior lawyer Ben Goldsmith began his cross-examination. He hoisted the shovel – the most sizable piece of evidence shown in court to date – and asked how decisions are made regarding what will be tested and what will not. It’s under the direction of investigators, Woodard replied. And the DNA must be compared to “reference profiles” – it is not just tested to come up with an ID of whose DNA it might be, it is compared to someone’s DNA for reference. The detective with whom Woodard worked on the case, she testified, had not asked for analysis of whether Vause’s DNA was on the knife, only whether Hood and/or Chambers had DNA on it. And, she confirmed, there was no request to test for DNA on the passenger door or trunk of Chambers’ BMW.
Many variables go into test samples. At this point, we learned that “some people are sloughers” – they shed more skin cells than others. And then we learned that many factors can “degrade” a sample, even a change in temperature.
Exposure to water and sand could wash DNA off something like a door handle, Goldsmith sought to confirm – something mentioned in his co-defender Lauren McLane‘s opening statement, their contention that the condition of the car, towed along wet, gritty streets and then stored, made it impossible to get a good DNA sample.
But, he said yet again, you were “never asked to check the passenger door handle.”
No, Woodard affirmed, she was not.
The morning ended on that note, and the customary hour and a half lunch break ensued. Woodard returned to the witness stand when it was over, though not for long – just a few more questions, from both sides, about aspects of degradation of DNA samples.
Next witness was questioned by the senior member of the prosecution team, Margaret Nave: SPD Detective Tanya Kinney, who was a patrol officer the night of the shooting, in the William-1 sector, focused around the Alki area, but for an incident like this, she said, it was typical for just about everyone in the precinct to rush that way. “All we heard was, shots fired at that location, possibly a truck involved … my purpose was to go to the scene and see where they need me.”
Having gone through special “evidence training,” Kinney was assigned first to take photos of the shell casings found at the scene; she also placed numbered placards over them, “to make it easier for CSI” (the Crime Scene Investigation team). Photos were shown of the placards, and of the scene in general, including the yellow crime tape, and some blood spatters – the first graphic evidence shown, and – audibly – a difficult moment for friends and family of the victim, who have been in the gallery daily, a box of tissues nearby.
Kinney did not touch the evidence, she testified – that’s for the CSI detectives (who arrived, she said, around 12:30 am); her job was to make sure it was not tampered with, and she continued to assist with containment of the scene even after she was done with photos and placards (the latter of which blew away a few times that night, she said).
Her next job, assigned by a detective, was to start “logging the scene” – keeping track of which officers/detectives came and went. Her log from that night was placed into evidence, and a few points reiterated before her hour or so of testimony ended.
Following the afternoon break, the day’s final witness was SPD Officer Brandon McDougald. On the night of the shooting, he was headed to the scene at Morgan Junction Park when he heard the victim had shown up at Providence Mount St. Vincent, to which he was closer.
He explained that it “looks like what most people would think of as what a typical medical center would look like” (the reason Vause has given for why he drove his wounded friend there).
Upon his arrival, he saw Seattle Fire Department medics “working on somebody lying on the ground just outside the front door of the facility.” Standing to the left of the person on the ground was Jamie Vause, who McDougald said told him that he was the person driving the red pickup truck (seen leaving the shooting scene), and that the person on the ground was who he had brought from that location. McDougald subsequently had Vause get into his patrol car so he could “take a statement.”
He described Vause as “very coherent … I didn’t smell any alcohol on him .. he seemed rather in shock.”
After talking with Vause, McDougald said, he drove him back to his house. And then he had one more task related to the investigation: He was asked to go to the suspect’s house in Gatewood to impound the BMW.
It had been backed into a detached garage behind the house. McDougald said he had been given the task because he knew how to drive a stick shift. The tow truck arrived at 4:07 am (by which time six hours had elapsed since the shooting), and he followed it to the SPD processing room at Park 95 (off Airport Way).
McLane cross-examined him, at which time he said he wrote Vause’s statement and Vause indicated it was correct and signed it. On redirect from Isaacson, the officer was asked if he found “anything memorable” when he checked Vause’s background. “Not that I recall.”
The lawyers were done questioning him at 3:45, too close to the 4 pm adjournment time to call another witness. At least two SPD officers who were mentioned Tuesday morning as expected afternoon witnesses were yet to come, so we expect they’ll be called Wednesday.
PREVIOUS COVERAGE AND BACKSTORY: Links, in case you are catching up:
Charge reduced to second-degree murder (August 9, 2013)
Charges filed against Chambers (January 25, 2012)
Coverage the night it happened and the morning after (January 21-22, 2012)
Three West Seattle Crime Watch notes:
IN CASE YOU WONDERED: Thanks to Guy for tipping us to a large police presence today at noontime at the former Life Care Center (47th/Admiral)/future Aegis Living site. The last officer leaving told us they were checking out an alarm – but they found no one, and no signs of break-in. Since it’s a big campus, there was a big initial response.
HOME BREAK-IN: Greg (40th and Hudson; map) says he saw a “smash-and-grab”-type home break-in in his neighborhood this afternoon, and wants people to be on the lookout. He first noticed “2 or 3 guys in a light tan or light goldish colored compact car. They stopped their car in front of my neighbor’s house. One of the guys slowly walked around back of the house. I thought it was odd seeing him walk directly around back, but was wondering if it was a workman assigned to do some kind of work. … Shortly after this I thought I heard a loud sound from the direction of the house, but wasn’t sure if it was some kind of work commencing or what.” Then he noticed at least one other person was still in the car, and its engine was still running. The first person came back to the car “with some object like a box or a stereo receiver of some type,” and they left. He still wasn’t certain something was wrong, since his neighbor usually is home during the day and it might have been a pre-scheduled delivery – but he found out otherwise when police arrived later. He says, “The crooks seemed to have gotten away with a small safe box of some sort.” The only description information he had was that both suspects were male and African-American – the one who got out of the car was about six feet tall, wearing a dark cap.
CAR BREAK-IN: Lisa reported her husband’s car was broken into in the Target parking lot at Westwood Village early last Saturday.
P.S. We were at tonight’s West Seattle Block Watch Captains Network meeting, featuring new precinct commander Capt. Steve Wilske – no new crime revelations, but watch for our report tomorrow on the discussion centering on how SPD can better collaborate with citizens on neighborhood safety.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
More challenges with witness-wrangling logistics led to a short Monday in the trial of Lovett “Cid” Chambers, the Gatewood man charged with second-degree murder in the deadly Morgan Junction shooting two years ago.
The trial technically is in its second month, having started weeks of motion hearings in early January, followed by jury selection, but presentations did not begin until last Wednesday, after the jury was seated, so Monday was the second day of witness testimony.
Today’s five witnesses included three Seattle Police officers with various roles in the police operation after Chambers, now 69, shot 35-year-old Travis Hood (photo at right). The shooting itself is not in dispute; jurors are being asked to decide if it was a crime, or, as the defense contends, self-defense.
But the day began with another former member of the staff at Feedback Lounge, where Chambers and Hood (accompanied that night by friend Jamie Vause, expected to testify later this week) had both been drinking – though nowhere near each other – before the shooting up the block.
By Megan Sheppard
On the WSBeat, for West Seattle Blog
This edition of The WSBeat contains summaries written from reports on cases handled recently by Southwest Precinct officers – generally cases that (usually) have not already appeared here in breaking-news coverage or West Seattle Crime Watch reports, but that might at least answer the question “what WERE all those police doing on my block?” Or on the bridge, or the beach, or …
*A father and adult son got into an argument on the 13th: Son claimed that dad had kicked him 15 times and tried kicking him down a flight of stairs. Officers found no marks or injuries on the young man (who declined medics). Dad admitted he was upset to discover his son had sold a bicycle (the son’s transportation to work) and gotten a $300 loan from a local business. His dismay grew when he found $300 worth of lottery scratch tickets littering the floor. The young man decided to collect some of his belongings and leave.
Three more summaries ahead:
As promised, we followed up on the latest arrest of Ryan Cox, the West Seattle repeat offender who has been in and out of the criminal-justice and mental-health systems: The City Attorney’s Office tells WSB he will spend up to four more months in jail as a result of his most recent arrest. It dates back to the assault case in which he pleaded guilty last year. His original sentence ended New Year’s Eve. Three weeks after that, he was arrested for violating probation; though the CAO sought to have him kept in jail longer, a judge released him on personal recognizance after one day. Local business owners say he still wanders the area with disruptive behavior, and brought their concerns to the West Seattle Crime Prevention Council meeting again this past Tuesday. Both new Southwest Precinct commander Capt. Steve Wilske and Seattle Municipal Court presiding judge Kimi Kondo, who also hears cases in the city’s Mental Health Court, were there. During the meeting, we discovered via the publicly viewable SMC docket that another probation-violation warrant had been issued for Cox’s arrest, two weeks earlier. The wheels began turning after the meeting; the following day (Wednesday) he was arrested and jailed. Since then, he’s appeared again in court. CAO spokesperson Kimberly Mills tells WSB that while they wanted all remaining jail time to be imposed (about 11 months), Judge Pro Tem Robert Chung instead revoked the suspension of 180 days – six months – and “struck active probation.” With the time he has served so far, that would mean a release date no sooner than mid-June, Mills says. Side note: The short account of Cox’s Thursday hearing says the court was addressed by an SPD officer regarding “community concerns”; Capt. Wilske had promised Tuesday night that he would make sure that information was brought to the court’s attention.
Topping this West Seattle Crime Watch roundup – a burglary investigation under way in Sunrise Heights. Martin asked us about a police response near 34th/Othello (map); SPD’s Det. Mark Jamieson says a resident called it in as a suspected break-in, hearing what sounded like breaking glass and then hearing sounds in the basement, where she said no one should have been, though the house has a basement living area. Police took one person into custody, but we don’t know yet if they were officially arrested (remember, that is a further step beyond being taken into custody for questioning – just because you see someone handcuffed doesn’t mean they were arrested) – we’ll be checking back with police.
CAR BREAK-IN: Krista e-mailed: “I would like to report to West Seattle Blog and your readers about my boyfriend’s car window getting smashed in the Highland Park neighborhood. It was parked on the street, block of 9th Avenue and Trenton Street (map). They didn’t steal anything from the car and it happened late last night or early this morning.”
BIKE-THEFT ATTEMPT: Andrew has a warning for bicycle owners, and it goes with this photo:
A thief attempted to steal my bike while I was at work (Wednesday). Luckily they must have got spooked, because they left my bike in my driveway. I’m in the townhouses by California and Myrtle (map). Please remind people to not leave anything they don’t want stolen outside.
Thanks, got lucky this time!
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
The wheels of justice seem to rotate excruciatingly slowly as a case moves toward resolution – via trial, via plea bargain, via something else. A status hearing is rescheduled, then rescheduled again, then rescheduled again.
If and when a case gets to the courtroom, you would imagine, it’s full speed ahead.
For one, there is the pace of testimony. Most witnesses are not the dramatic bombshell-droppers of TV, movies, theater. They are brought in to provide a few details that might (or might not) prove later to be key
There’s the matter of logistics.
On Thursday, the first day of witness testimony in the murder trial of Lovett “Cid” Chambers began an hour later than planned.
The first scheduled witness for the prosecution, it seemed, had overslept.
Dominoes then fell, as the second scheduled witness had been told to show up around 10, the third witness around 10:30, so neither had arrived. Calls were made. A cab was even sent to fetch one witness.
The fourth scheduled witness was on videotape – but that couldn’t be moved to the head of the line because of an ongoing discussion over what could be heard on the tape besides the witness – a discussion requiring further review and a decision from Superior Court Judge Theresa Doyle before the video could be played for jurors.
Eventually, it all worked out, and the first witness to arrive took the stand at about 10:10.
All contents copyright 2014, A Drink of Water and a Story Interactive. Here's how to contact us.
Header image by Nick Adams. ABSOLUTELY NO WSB PHOTO REUSE WITHOUT SITE OWNERS' PERMISSION.
Entries and comments feeds. ^Top^