59th/Admiral shooting suspect update – and lawyer’s request

arrow.jpgAn unexpected note landed in the WSB inbox overnight — from the lawyer for the 17-year-old who turned himself in the day after the fatal shooting at 59th & Admiral inside the black car marked with a white arrow in the photo at right. The lawyer, Bellevue-based Robert Perez, tells WSB his client remains in juvenile detention following a hearing yesterday, and adds, “I can assure you that the circumstances leading to the shooting were anomalous and it’s my belief that my client poses no danger to anyone in your community.” That comment was in response to our followup questions after Perez’s first note to us, which asked if we would post his “call for witnesses” — in the WSB tradition of posting many things verbatim so you can evaluate for yourself, here’s what he wrote:

My name is Robert Perez. I am the attorney who represents the young man who voluntarily turned himself in (Sunday) in connection with the shooting in your neighborhood Saturday afternoon. He and I would both like to express our regret for the disruption and fear this may have caused your community, and we remind you to please keep in mind the presumption of innocence that is a fundamental value under our system of justice.

The reason I am contacting you is because I would appreciate your assistance in locating any witnesses who may have seen the shooting or any of the events surrounding it. If anyone has any information relating to this case, please contact me at (425) 748-5005 and state that this is in relation to the Admiral Way shooting.

There is reason to believe that the black Nissan involved in the shooting may have been seen in and around the neighborhood on prior occasions. I am particularly interested in any sightings of this vehicle or its driver near schools or other places where children congregate. The driver of the Nissan was a Hispanic male, approximately 33 years of age. If you have any information relating to such sightings, or anything else involving this case, please call me at the number above.

Thank you for your assistance.

Again, for context’s sake, we did not seek out this person for comment — his note arrived in our e-mail completely unsolicited. And in the interest of both sides of the investigation equation, we should also mention that we’re sure Seattle Police and the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s office also would want to talk to anyone with information vital to this case. We are still awaiting official identification of the victim, and will post that information whenever it becomes available; we also will continue to watch this case’s progression through the courts.

29 Replies to "59th/Admiral shooting suspect update - and lawyer's request"

  • k October 16, 2007 (12:52 pm)

    regardless of what this letter states, this is a fatal shooting. i cannot think of any reasons this could have been justified at all.

  • Aidan Hadley October 16, 2007 (12:59 pm)

    This is clearly the attorney’s calculated use of the WS Blog to round up witnesses by which to build a defense of his client.

  • WSB October 16, 2007 (1:05 pm)

    And that is why we note at the end that we would imagine police and prosecutors would be happy to hear from witnesses too. Information is seldom released by anyone without some kind of ulterior motive … that said, the information can be enlightening all the same. We are contacting the Prosecuting Attorney’s office to see if they have anything to add; police have not returned our messages nor even issued a formal update about the arrest.

  • Katherine October 16, 2007 (1:35 pm)

    Answer to k: Self defense.

  • JumboJim October 16, 2007 (1:39 pm)

    Yeah Aidan, that’s right – defendants defend themselves. That’s how it works. That’s what you would do if you were charged with a crime.

    I have no idea what happened there that day and neither do you. Hopefully the full truth will eventually come out.

  • s October 16, 2007 (1:43 pm)

    From the previous posts it looks like there are some conflicting eyewitness accounts. Get enough witnesses who have conflicting accounts, put them on the stand, and boom–you have reasonable doubt. I wonder if the lawyer is looking for a witness who saw what really happened, or is on a fishing expedition for confusion.

  • willamina c. October 16, 2007 (1:52 pm)

    I don’t know, but given the disparate age between the decedent and alleged shooter, I believe the facts somewhat speak for themselves about what the circumstances of self-defense could be.

    I am speaking strictly in theory and know nothing other than that I was five blocks away at the time and wondered what the heck all the law-related hubbub was about. I saw nothing, I know nothing, I am just posing what is strictly a theory.

  • dq October 16, 2007 (2:38 pm)

    and on a different note… it shows the importance of this blog that the lawyer, regardless of his motive, has reached out to wsb.

  • donald October 16, 2007 (3:09 pm)

    “it’s my belief that my client poses no danger to anyone in your community.” Yeah, except for the person that he allegedly murdered, speculation on circumstances aside.

  • flowerpetal October 16, 2007 (3:31 pm)

    I found it disturbing that the attorney would reach out in this way. It is irregular and to my understanding, inappropriate.

  • Aidan Hadley October 16, 2007 (4:15 pm)

    I agree with flowerpetal. I don’t have an issue with the presumption of innocence (though not for nothing but the accused did apparently shoot someone, flee the scene, allude police for an undetermined amount of time, and then turn himself in to police identifying himself as the shooter) but having the defense round up witnesses before they have had a chance to be interviewed by homicide investigators is unusual. My thinking is that they’d gain access to witness names and accounts through discovery and then have a chance to depose them.

  • Robert Perez October 16, 2007 (5:33 pm)

    Given the hugely disturbing effect of this type of incident to any community, I understand the strong feelings felt by this community.

    Please understand that there is nothing inappropriate about an attorney’s attempts to locate witnesses to a crime. The Rules of Professional Conduct (RPCs) explicitly provide for this type of communication to help obtain witnesses. RPC 3.6(b)(5). Unlike civil cases, depositions aren’t automatically provided for in criminal cases and witness interviews are typically initiated by exactly this type of active search.

    I don’t have a preference whether my interviews take place before or after prosecutors and police interviews, my purpose is simply to gather the information while it is fresh in people’s memory. Memories fade, witnesses forget and disappear, and critical facts fall through the cracks. That is to no one’s advantage.

    I can’t change what people think or believe about the workings of the criminal justice system or the motivations of criminal defense lawyers. All I can do is do what I would do for each of you if you were in the unfortunate position of needing the assistance of an attorney. Just as each of you has your job to do, I have mine to do, and my professional obligations do not allow me to shrink away from my responsibilities because of public resentment. Nor should they.

    Thank you for consideration of my request and for your patience in bearing with my requests. If any of you would like to discuss this further, or have any information to share, feel free to contact me at (425) 748-5005.

    Lastly, the reason I chose this blog over other methods of contact is because I can think of no better source of information from observant bystanders than the words of bloggers who care enough about their community to actively participate in the dialogs taking place. Thank you for helping further this communication revolution, and good luck with your blog.

    Thank you,

    Robert Perez

  • k October 16, 2007 (6:27 pm)

    katherine- why did he have a gun in a car with him? self defense in your home, yes. in a car????

  • Lynn October 16, 2007 (8:41 pm)

    If you all could and would read between the lines here it seems that this man may have been some sort of pedophile. Perhaps the young man who turned himself in was a victim. Sexual abuse is very damaging to the human mind. It is my assumption that both gentlemen were victims of some sort.

  • Lou October 16, 2007 (9:28 pm)

    Lynn, very astute observation. This could definitely be a case where a molested kid kills his attacker. Makes sense that he turned himself in also…he’s not your typical killer if this is the case. Only time will tell and hopefully this story gets come clarity.

  • Katherine October 16, 2007 (9:51 pm)

    k, how do we know it was his gun? Maybe it belonged to the other man. We don’t know what happened there, much as we might speculate. It seems to be in the young man’s favor that he did eventually turn himself in. As potential jury pool, we need to not jump to conclusions.

  • Jan October 16, 2007 (10:05 pm)

    Lynn…that ws my first thought, given the age difference, and the fact that info was wanted about sightings of this person around schools, etc…sad, all around, I say…

  • JT October 17, 2007 (7:21 am)

    Robert Perez is one sharp guy. Who else is billable at probably $250/hr to read the WSB ?

  • ng October 17, 2007 (9:49 am)

    I see nothing wrong what Robert Perez is doing. Let the man do his job.

  • k October 17, 2007 (12:25 pm)

    i apologize for jumping to conclusions. we just have to wait and see what happens.

  • The House October 17, 2007 (6:31 pm)

    Nothing wrong with what Mr. Perez is doing. I obiously have no clue what occurred in that vehicle that day, but keep in mind the following:

    1) Unless the deceased attempted to kill the young man, he did not have a legal reason to shoot him.

    2) The young man is apparently under 18 and to my knowledge was illeagally in possision of a firearm.

    3) Whether or not the deceased attempted to murder the young man, the young man left a crime scene.

    4) Defense lawyers typically have less morals than the people they defend.

  • ng October 17, 2007 (8:43 pm)

    Again, there is nothing wrong with what Mr. Perez is doing.
    1. You have just judged defense lawyers as a whole.

    2. Your right, to your knowledge which is nothing I assume you weren’t in the car. He was illegally in possession of a firearm. (how do you know who’s gun it was)

    3.Yes, he did leave the crime scene. Maybe he was scared….ya think? Obviously after some thought he realized that was not the right thing to do by turning himself in.

    4. You have got to be kidding, is it possible to be so judgmental of others without knowing what your talking about, how sad.

  • The House October 17, 2007 (10:57 pm)

    NG, I should have elaborated on my first sentence more. I agree that there is nothing wrong with what Mr. Perez is doing.

    In response to what you’re saying:

    1) The legal age to have a gun permit in King County is 21. That means that if he was under 21, he was illegally possesing it.

    2) Being scared does not justify leaving a crime scene. Let’s also not jump on the “molestation” band wagon. This could have been an argument, drug deal, or anything else. Don’t assume this kid was a victim (how many good underage kids pack heat)?

    3) I am basing my opinion on countless defense lawyers that have defended countless criminals and got their clients off despite evidence that their clients are 100% guilty. I’m not just talking about murder, but assualt, DUI, rape, etc. In my opinion, if you knowingly get someone off for any of the above crimes then you may be acting legally, but you are not necessarily acting morally.

    4) What’s sad is that someone was killed in our community.

  • Jan October 17, 2007 (11:47 pm)

    House…so would you say that those people you deem “guilty” shouldn’t have access to a defense attorney? that our justice system shouldn’t apply to them? I’m not trying to be argumentative, but..what would your answer be to these people who are supposed to be afforded the same as you…to have a defense lawyer if you are arrested for a crime where one is needed.

    Oh…and I don’t mean to say that I approve of all lawyers…I’m familiar with a few shysters out there.(really makes voting this year difficult – R67 – having to decide between lawyers and insurances)

    and yes…we can’t assume that the gun was his…it may have been in the car with the deceased.Definitely sad that someone was killed in our community like that. I was a little surprised when I heard the location. I can’t remember anything like that happening anywhere around there like that. But, then..I suppose we’re not immune, huh…

  • The House October 18, 2007 (8:08 am)

    Interesting question, Jan. I wasn’t attempting to change the legal system, I was only commenting on the morality of some defense lawyers (not saying all prosecutors are angels either).

    I personally know people who have gotten off of DUIs even though they were drunk. Their lawyers got them off through technicalities, suave talking, etc. Although the people that I’m refrencing are by no means habitual offenders, we have seen many instances in the news where habitual DUI offenders have killed officers and innocent people. I am a firm believer that the individual stepping into the vehicle it ultimately responsible, but the lawyer that got those people off or sentenced reduced is a bit accountable for doing so. For that, I find it morrally wrong.

    It would take me too long to discuss changes to the legal system, but I think it goes without saying that we need to correct the legal system in many ways.

  • Jan October 18, 2007 (12:14 pm)

    house…on that last statement I can agree. And I find it reprehensible that those lawyers who get those people off are using loopholes in the laws to get some of those people off. Both need to be fixed. I’m petrified to drive after one or two drinks. I’m glad the lawyers are there, but sometimes just shake my head. Yet another thing to be cynical about, huh….

  • emgee October 18, 2007 (2:59 pm)

    As a friend of the shooter, let me clear one thing up; He isn’t a threat to our community, nor has he ever been. All of us who know him are very hurt and confused by this incident. I’ve known him for quite sometime and he is one of the most respectful and nicest young men you’ll ever meet. I know as much as you do about this incident, which is why I’m still so confused about everything that happened. For this to happen and for him to be the one behind bars has my mind exploding with questions that I want answers to.

  • Robert Perez October 20, 2007 (10:07 am)

    Emgee, I don’t believe we’ve met and I don’t know how to contact you from this blog. Could you please contact my office and ask for me at (425) 748-5005? Thank you.

    The WSB site operator has made a few comments suggesting that the identity of the decedent is still unknown. I don’t know if the Medical Examiner has released this information yet, but I will tell you that my investigation reveals that the decedent’s name is Francisco Bailey-Ortiz and that he was identified as a hispanic male, approximately 33 years.

    My information is that Bailey-Ortiz was not a resident of your neighborhood, that he lived in the U District, but that he came to your neighborhood regularly seeking out my client. He drove a black Nissan Maxima.

    I am particularly interested in any sightings of Bailey-Ortiz or his automobile near playgrounds or schools or other places where minor children congregate in your neighborhood. If anyone has any information at all about this man or his vehicle, please contact me at (425) 748-5005.

    Thank you

  • T~ballz~ November 5, 2007 (10:22 am)

    i think its all bull

    no one was right there with my guy D. enless someone was standing right in the window and watched everything happends i would shut up about all the numerz your sayin like who ever said he was a pedifile wtf your trippin dwayne was the nicest guy in the world who wouldent hirt a fly and allwas smileing ….. i think it gotta do a lil something with self dafence ..



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