59th/Admiral shooting trial update: Prosecution rests its case

October 23, 2008 6:09 pm
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 |   Crime | West Seattle news

gavel.jpgWe’re continuing to cover the trial of the Alki 18-year-old charged with murder in the 10/13/07 shooting death of 33-year-old Francisco Bailey-Ortiz, killed inside a car at 59th/Admiral. The week’s proceedings concluded (the trial’s not in session Fridays) with prosecutors resting their case. Ahead, our courtroom correspondent’s full report:

By Rachel Gabrielle
West Seattle Blog contributing reporter

The state rested its part of the 59th/Admiral shooting case today, with Detective Rolf Norton finishing up his testimony followed by the main eyewitness, an Alki-area resident who made the first 911 call.

First up, Det. Norton testified that it was four hours after he investigated Bailey-Ortiz’s residence on October 16, 2007, three days after the shooting, when he received information about Bailey-Ortiz allegedly having been a sexual predator who stalked the defendant to Seattle from California.

Later, when his partner in the case, Detective Steven Kilburg, took the witness stand, he agreed about the time frame in which they learned about Bailey-Ortiz, but characterized it as a “non-fact based tip,” and said there was a decision made by both detectives not to return to the residence — all this in relation to the point that no DNA was ever collected and no DNA tests were ever ordered by police.

The residence, which was in the process of being gutted at the time of the investigation, has since been demolished. Though detectives found bottles of what they both believed to be urine in the University District residence (as we reported yesterday), Det. Kilburg testified that the plumbing in the house was not tested.

A neighbor in the 59th/Admiral area was next to take the stand. He gave a detailed account of what he saw that day as he drove by Bailey-Ortiz’s parked car on 59th.

He recalled, “I noticed things going on in the car that were unusual to me,” and described two people in the front seat fighting and throwing punches at each other. The witness pulled in front of the car and kept an eye on the fight through his rear-view window. Next, the witness pulled around to Admiral Way but through his passenger window could still see the incident. He testified that he saw the defendant lunge into the car twice and then saw the driver’s side window blow out, but did not hear any gunshots or even the glass breaking.

The witness called 911 and was on the phone with them as he saw the defendant put something into his waist or coat and run toward him, before turning east up SW Hanford and disappearing from view. He saw Bailey-Ortiz flailing in the car and saw that he made one, maybe even two calls on his cell phone. When Det. Norton visited the day after the shooting, the witness was able to positively identify the defendant out of six photos. “Regretfully, he looked like my 17-year-old grandson,” the witness said today.

With that, it was the defense’s turn to start calling its witnesses; today, a co-worker of Bailey-Ortiz took the stand. Leading up to the shooting, Bailey-Ortiz was working as an iron-worker on a construction site. The Thursday before the shooting, the witness, who appeared to be in his late teens or early twenties (an apprentice on the job), was offered $20 and a case of beer by Bailey-Ortiz to give him a ride home, he said. The witness agreed and drove Bailey-Ortiz to his University District residence and could positively identify the home when shown pictures from the investigation.

With no court in session on Fridays, the defense will continue calling witnesses Monday morning in King County Superior Court Judge Richard Eadie‘s courtroom. The defendant is among those expected to testify.

Previous coverage:
10/13/07: Day-of coverage of the shooting
10/13/08: Trial begins
10/16/08: Jury selection continues
10/20/08: Jury seated
10/21/08: Testimony begins
10/22/08: Testimony continues

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