As we reported after attending the arraignment of the Alki 17-year-old charged as an adult with second-degree murder for the fatal shooting at 59th/Admiral on October 13th, his lawyer is arguing that he should be released from jail or at least have his bail cut. We now have the court paperwork with details of why the defense claims he would not be a threat to the community — and it aligns with the speculation some voiced when a call for witnesses was put out by lawyer Robert Perez:
The court documents allege that the shooting victim had sexually abused and stalked the defendant, across three states, since the defendant was 12.
Though we have reported the defendant’s name before, we are excising it in this report as there is now an allegation he is a victim of child sexual abuse.
But the fact is that this claim is being made in public court documents to try to explain to the judge, and therefore to us all, why we shouldn’t be worried if the suspect gets out of jail while awaiting trial. So we think it is important for you to know, especially those in the surrounding Alki/Admiral community who were so directly shaken by this killing happening in their neighborhood.
The court document says the two first met in 2002 while the defendant and his mother were living in Southern California:
Sometime during this period, during a visit to the local gas station/mini-mart, (he) met a worker at the gas station, Francisco Bailey-Ortiz, who befriended him. For his own reasons, Bailey-Ortiz provided (him) with free candy and other gifts, including at one point over $80 in cash, an extraordinary sum for a 12-year-old boy. Over time, the gifts came to include cigarettes and alcohol, and the role that Bailey-Ortiz played in (the defendant’s) life grew to become a trusted friend who filled a gap in (his) life. At the time of his death, Bailey-Ortiz was approximately 33 years old.
Shortly after these unsolicited gifts arrived, the motives of Bailey-Ortiz became apparent and he began to sexually molest (the defendant). The free “gifts” continued and the victimization continued.
Although (the defendant’s) mother never knew about Bailey-Ortiz, she became aware of significant changes in (her son’s) behavior. He experienced problems in school and began to argue inexplicably with his mother. She learned about drug involvement. Concerned about his environment, (she) sent him to live with his father in Oregon. …
Despite (the) move out of state, Bailey-Ortiz stalked (the defendant) and followed him up to Oregon state where he continued his victimization of the boy.
The court document then says (the defendant) moved to Washington state with his mother, and:
Even after this move, Bailey-Ortiz continued his stalking and predatory behavior and again followed the family up to Washington, where he took up residence in the University District and continued to visit and abuse (the defendant). The “gifts” … continued, but instead of candy and free money, Bailey-Ortiz provided alcohol, drugs, and, eventually, even a gun.
The sexual abuse continued over the years, culminating in a confrontation occurring on October 13, 2007, in West Seattle. During the confrontation, Bailey-Ortiz was shot and died later that evening. Police released a report indicating that there were no arrests and no suspects in the shooting.
The very next day, (the defendant) surrended to police and told them that he was the person they were seeking in connection with the shooting. Police didn’t know what to do with him at first because there was nothing connecting (him) to the shooting.
From that background, the document moves on to the argument for releasing the defendant or reducing his bail (currently at $500,000):
There is no evidence to suggest (he) is a flight risk. To the contrary, there is every indication that (he) is someone who meets his obligations and takes them seriously. …
When the police had nothing, no clues, no names, no suspects, nothing to indicate who was responsible for the shooting, (he) voluntarily surrendered himself to police. Indeed, after surrendering to police, police were so confounded by his self-surrender they stated that they had no basis to hold him and would have to let him go. They called counsel and stated that they had no reason (to) hold him. On his own initiative, (he) voluntarily offered to them that he was involved in the shooting that occurred in West Seattle the night before. Only after these assurances did police agree to take him into custody. (He) took each of these steps knowing that the person shot had passed away, knowing that he was being sought in what was being characterized as a “murder.” He did this even though police had no reason to connect him to the killing, because he knew that it was his responsibility to do the right thing and on that basis alone, he turned himself in. All of this was done *after* he had been informed by counsel that he was wanted for murder, and what the consequences were for a conviction. All of these facts suggest that (he) does not need bail to assure his attendance in court, even in light of the grave potential penalties he faces. His confidence in his defense and his sense of responsibility combine to remove any reasonable fear that he would fail to keep his commitment.
Counsel is aware that the charges are serious and that, under the statute, the Court must take into account not only the possibility of flight, but also the likelihood that (the defendant) might commit a violent crime. On that point, the evidence before the Court is that (his) problems with Bailey-Ortiz were an anomaly brought on by the decedent himself as a result of 5 years of the predatory sexual victimization of (the defendant), and that this dispute was highly personal and only between (him) and Bailey-Ortiz, and no one else. There is no evidence anywhere, of any kind, to suggest that (the defendant) has ever committed any violent act against anyone other than Bailey-Ortiz, or that he has any disposition to commit any violent act.
The document goes on to point to letters from community members vouching for the defendant, and then adds another argument for his release:
Counsel will need (his) active participation in the defense of the charges. In order to effectively represent (him), counsel will need his help in locating and interviewing witnesses to the relationship with Bailey-Ortiz, something that will be extraordinarily difficult for him to do from a jail cell. Counsel is aware that this alone is not a sufficient basis for release, but counsel submits that the record before this Court, when viewed in its totality, does not support a finding that (he) is likely to commit a violent offense if released on his personal recognizance, nor does it support a finding that he cannot expect to return to court. …
If the Court is inclined to deny a release on Personal Recognizance, we would urge the Court to consider the alternative of Electronic Home Detention. (The defendant) is currently housed in the King County Jail in the general population and, as such, he is at risk of exposure to all of the criminal influences that come with an adult jail facility. Despite the gravity of the charges, the fact remains that (he) is an unsophisticated minor, a child victim of years of sustained sexual abuse by a sexual predator, and someone who should be shielded from the dangers of an adult jail while he awaits trial. Frankly, it is our position that (his) life is in danger in this situation, and the sooner he is removed from the King County Jail, the sooner that danger will subside.
Attached to the court documentation excerpted above are several letters of reference, from people who know the defendant in the Alki neighborhood where he lives with his mother, from a volunteer project he worked on two years ago, from a business where he worked part-time, and from the school he attended (not in West Seattle). He is scheduled to return to court November 7th.