Followup: Ryan Cox pleads guilty, released from jail

We reported yesterday on the latest arrest of Ryan Cox, who had previously been arrested twice in the past 10 months for serial graffiti vandalism, charged with multiple counts of property destruction, then eventually freed when charges were dropped because he was found not mentally competent to stand trial. This time, the charge was “1st degree property destruction, value greater than $50”; it involved tire-slashing, according to the victim, who e-mailed a Crime Watch report about it. According to the King County Jail Register, Cox is out of jail as of less than an hour ago; The Seattle Municipal Court website says he had a hearing today at which he waived trial, then pleaded guilty to the charge, was given a “suspended sentence,” and “referred to the time pay office” for what the court site says was a $5,000+ fine. That’s all the information we have; we won’t be able to find out more from the City Attorney’s Office until Monday. (Previous stories, some of which included photos previously released by police, are archived here.)

34 Replies to "Followup: Ryan Cox pleads guilty, released from jail"

  • v February 27, 2010 (8:17 pm)

    Wow – that is crazy! Was the judge able to see his whole history? I keep thinking of all the people who have died at the hands of people who were demonstrating to the community that they were in desperate need of help. Someone with some authority needs to intervene on this asap.

    What options do people in the community/family have in this type of situation?

    • WSB February 27, 2010 (8:24 pm)

      I have to admit I didn’t know Municipal Court did arraignments on Saturdays. All these years in the biz and always something new to learn. Otherwise I would have gone downtown to cover the hearing. Municipal Court, by the way, just happens to put a LOT of its information online, same-day – information for what transpires in higher courts is NOT available on anywhere near that timely a basis (aside from a suspect’s status via the Jail Register, which is close to real-time regardless of where a person’s case is being handled) – TR

  • Dano February 27, 2010 (8:27 pm)

    Stuff like this makes me feel like criminals have more rights than the common citizen…. Yikes!….. I have to get back to work so I can help pay for this loser’s defense, health care, etc.

  • Denise February 27, 2010 (8:32 pm)

    Unbelievable. I can’t believe this tagging, tire-slashing a-hole is on the loose again ALREADY. Let’s see – released an hour ago – that means he’s back on the streets of our community defacing property with his hate-filled tags and slashing tires right about…. now. I am stunned that the judge gave him a suspended sentence. He’s progressed from tagging to slashing tires – meaning he’s carrying a weapon. What’s next? Thanks WSB for keeping us posted on this situation.

  • Alki Area February 27, 2010 (8:35 pm)

    The useless revolving door of justice swings again. Someone commits crime after crime after crime after crime after crime, but no matter that he can’t pay the fines, no matter how many people he impacts, he’s always let go.

    Why do we even HAVE police or courts, they’re useless. No one has ever been able to stop this guy. Maybe the day his mental illness gets bad enough he kills someone, then someone will pay attention. Until then, just more “don’t do it again” lectures and he’s free again.

  • Dano February 27, 2010 (8:47 pm)

    I REALLY hope this gets some television coverage… I cannot imagine ANYONE in the community feeling that this release is in ANY way positive. The judge owes the entire community some sort of detailed explination on the decision to put all of us at risk….. but then, what are the chances of THAT happening?…. Not as likely as this guy’s probability to re-offend, I bet.

    • WSB February 27, 2010 (9:02 pm)

      There are two stories we’ve reported today that I personally (as a former citywide newsroom manager) think are prime candidates for citywide-media coverage … this and the Jason McKissack Act potentially stalling in the State Senate again. The citywiders all read the site. Neither, unfortunately, is a simple story to do, and it’s often the simple/grabby stories that get picked up. I’m afraid tonight, though, for TV anyway, it’s quake and tsunami mania, even though the latter (happily) turned out to be nothing. Maybe tomorrow.

  • Born To Be Mild February 27, 2010 (9:24 pm)

    So how does Ryan survive? Someone is providing food and shelter for him. If I keep a dangerous animal there are laws to address that situation. What’s the difference between this guy and a dog that has a tendency to bite and allowed to run off leash?

  • Iggy February 27, 2010 (9:27 pm)

    This is so scary and sad. I hate feeling that I am “attacking” a mentally ill person by writing on this blog that I think the judge was wrong, wrong, wrong. Too often this is exactly the type of situation that escalates and the mentally ill person ends up really harming someone. I live in his neighborhood and often have seen the graffiti, which is quite disturbing. Now I’m feeling I have to look out for a knife. Scary. There must be a way of REQUIRING that he get medication and/or secure living arrangement and therapy without infringing on his civil rights.

  • JanS February 27, 2010 (9:43 pm)

    a 5K fine…really…and exactly how do they expect to collect from him? Is that just a formality? Will he be re-arrested if he doesn’t pay the fine? Does the guy who had his tires slashed feel any safer tonight? He’s already been targeted. Amazing, amazing, amazing. Maybe we all need to show up en masse the next time he’s busted and let the judge know how the citizens of the community really feel. Peacefully, of course :)

  • East coast February 27, 2010 (9:53 pm)

    Western washington at its finest.

  • jeff February 27, 2010 (10:14 pm)

    This is ridiculous! At the very least, perhaps WSB can provide us with the name of the judge who handed out this slap on the wrist to a person who’s comitted multiple crimes, and who is escalating in his actions. We should also know more about the prosecutor who acquiesced to this absurd decision.

  • Can't Take It Anymore February 27, 2010 (10:19 pm)

    I’m sick to death of hearing people on here diminishing what he’s doing because he’s mentally ill. Believe me, I understand that he needs special treatment but it’s clear he’s not getting it. So we’re just going to wait til he turns a knife on an actual person to acknowledge that this isn’t something we can afford to pity him about?

    • WSB February 27, 2010 (11:17 pm)

      No judge (or deputy city attorney) listed in the Municipal Court online records, which again, are more detailed than other courts, but on the other hand, don’t link to full documents.

  • LP February 27, 2010 (10:35 pm)

    OMG. Unbelievable. This is getting really upsetting. I just emailed the City Attorney’s SW Precinct Liaison, John Goodwin and the Chief of the Criminal Division, Craig Sims.

  • PeterT February 27, 2010 (10:43 pm)

    We all know justice is occasionally blind. It’s rather sobering to see that it’s also pretty dumb, at times.

  • (required) February 27, 2010 (10:54 pm)

    Wow! You people — are you really Seattleites? I half expect every time a court does something like this that all the bleeding heart lefties will crawl out of the woodworks to rant on about how horribly racist our criminal justice system is, how this poor young man is truly the victim — the victim of a system that failed him, how he just needs mental health counseling at public expense, etc. etc. etc., yadda yadda yadda … But here I actually see somments of people who actually are surprised that he got treated lightly? People! Where’s your inner Seattleite spineless uber-liberalness?! C’mon! Get with it! Let’s all go give the victims dirty looks and flash peace signs while Ryan does it again and again, only to get lesser and lesser sentences from the (elected) court judges.

  • (required) February 27, 2010 (11:01 pm)

    Oh, and by the way, the prosecutor here was a deputy or assistant working for the new city attorney — the one who got more votes than Mr. Carr. Remember that whole debate? It seems Seattle voters wanted a new guy who wouldn’t be so darned much of a stickler when it came to enforcement of the laws. Yeah, that election did matter after all, didn’t it?

    IMHO, it’s way past time to end judicial elections — everywhwere in this state. Or do we need an initiative to debate it for a few decades first?

  • Waterworld February 27, 2010 (11:27 pm)

    I want to offer some answers to a couple of the questions that have been posted. First, the judge may have had only limited information about his history. When a defendant chooses to enter a guilty plea at his first appearance or his arraignment, the court doesn’t have a complete file, necessarily. The judge would have known that a prior case was dismissed because the defendant was incompetent to stand trial. On that record, virtually any defendant would get a no-jail sentence.

    Second, by pleading guilty and getting a suspended sentence, the defendant is now subject to greater sanctions if he violates the law again. If he’s picked up on a law violation, he’ll be immediately subject to a sentence up to however much the judge imposed and suspended today, and he’ll face the consequences of a new charge, which will be more severe due to the prior conviction.

    Third, there are ways to force an individual into health care treatment, but it’s not easy in this state. We have already gutted all the financing for mental health treatment for the poor and those who may be dangerous to others but have not yet committed a violent crime. (Slashing tires, even with a sharp instrument, isn’t a violent crime.)

    I share the concerns of others in our community that this guy, and others like him, don’t get serious treatment before they hurt someone — or even after they hurt someone, for that matter. But the situation wouldn’t be much different if the judge had tossed him in jail for a month or two at the hearing today. He’ll still be mentally ill when he’s released from jail and he’ll go right back to what he’s been doing. Ironically, if we weren’t spending so much money confining non-dangerous offenders, like drug users, we could probably afford to direct more resources to preventing mentally ill people from committing crimes.

    To the person who wants to know why we can’t treat him like a dog, the law in our state does not permit punishing someone who’s feeding and housing a person who commits a crime, with very limited exceptions (such as for a person who renders certain kinds of aid after the crime, knowing it was committed). I haven’t read enough to know whether he’s actually got shelter, however. He could be homeless, he could live alone. There’s no reason that I know of to assume someone else is responsible for him in some way. And by the way, what good would that do?

    Of course, instead of howling about how we can pillory him, or worse, folks who care about their community might contribute ideas instead about how we might get him the kind of mental health treatment he needs. We’d all be more safe, and it costs a whole lot less than locking him up forever.

  • Ebaer February 28, 2010 (7:00 am)

    Thank you Waterworld for some of the few knowledgeable and helpful comments on this I have seen.

  • mark February 28, 2010 (9:18 am)

    This is not a question of Justice, its a matter of mental health budgets slashed to the bone. I would guess his sentence was in the guidelines, like it or not ( I don’t). You won’t get a response from the Judge, but I am sure he wishes he had other options. Again, its a matter of when, not if, someone actually feels threatened enough by his acts to protect themselves and then, someone will be hurt. I suppose the good news is unlike years ago, this will have been well documented.

  • wssort February 28, 2010 (9:48 am)

    Couldn’t we just get fed up enough to take the law into our own hands and deal with this guy? I suppose if he was black he would still be behind bars, but no, he belongs to a ‘west seattle family of reputable standing’ who actually reads these blogs.

  • mark February 28, 2010 (10:02 am)

    Wssort, sooner or later, that will happen and thats the sad part. I am a healthy, atheltic guy, if I saw someone on my property holding a knife I would take that as a threat to myself and my family and defend myself. Add in the fast that most Police tend to be a little trigger happy these days and don’t seem to be shooting to wound anymore. Its when, not if it ends ugly for someone.

  • LP February 28, 2010 (10:57 am)

    People, please please take a few moments to send an email to let those in a position of authority know your concerns about this. It is just as easy as leaving a comment here. In addition to the emails listed above, I’d also contact:
    (and maybe even Gov Gregoire?)
    And other local news outlets. You can just cc them all in one email, and direct them back to these WSB posts, and the long documented saga of Ryan.

    This is so sad, a tragedy in the making for Ryan, his family, and our community. And it is just one instance of a terribly broken system that is clearly failing…for the mentally ill and for our public safety. Irregardless of your political stance, as human beings, we have a responsibility to each other to do everything we can before someone is hurt or killed. The very least we can do is contact those in a position of authority and reiterate that we collectively foresee a disaster in the making. The red flags are undeniable. Please make your voice heard.

  • J February 28, 2010 (11:00 am)

    This all goes back to Ronald Reagan, who decided to save money on mental health in the guise of supporting the rights of the mentally ill not to be in forced treatment. You can thank this great American hero for the proliferation of mentally ill homeless we now find ourselves helpless to help.

  • Jeff February 28, 2010 (11:28 am)

    Gosh J, if this was just a Reagan problem all along, you’d think the Democrats would have had no problem reversing that decision at any number of times when the controlled Congress. Wonder why they didn’t think of that.

  • mark February 28, 2010 (11:48 am)

    It was never a Reagan “problem” but he did eliminate the funding. Mental health is not sexy, it doesn’t get you re-elected so its a non issue for the most part, until you are a victim.

  • Travis February 28, 2010 (1:49 pm)

    LP is the only one making sense here.
    If you are all so fed up with the justice system or feel threatened, in your community, by this man, get off the blog and do something about it. Dont worry, the links are published here so you can remain sitting in your comfy chair away from the scary world out there.
    Oh, its not your responsibility to take a stand and right the wrongs of the world? Well then, by all means, continue to whine about it all from your couches and office chairs.

  • wssort February 28, 2010 (2:17 pm)

    What should we do then Travis? It starts here, with the community voicing their opinions. We have these links now too, which will also help, maybe. What else can we do, pray tell?

  • Case sensitive February 28, 2010 (2:48 pm)

    I’ve been thinking about what to do…I don’t think the Republicans, the Dems, or the TP offer any solution now. I don’t want to commit a crime against Ryan either. I think he needs to be closely watched, so when he pulls out his marking pen or his knife the police can be notified and the systems that are in place can deal with him can go to work. So do we know where he lives? Can we use Twitter so we know when he’s enjoying his freedom?

  • mark February 28, 2010 (4:29 pm)

    Thanks for that tip Travis. I actually had my fence tagged last summer (not sure it was Ryan, police seemed to think so) but I now keep a baseball bat at my back door. Is this was you mean by get involved?

  • WC February 28, 2010 (6:26 pm)

    Ryan was released from Western to the public around Jan. 25.

  • Waterworld February 28, 2010 (9:23 pm)

    Mark: Be careful how you use that bat. You may already know this, but the use of force in self-defense in this state is regulated by statute. You may use force to thwart the “malicious interference” with your real or personal property, but only to the extent the force is “not more than is necessary.” RCW 9A.16.120. I’m not saying using a bat is more than what’s necessary (although I kind of think it generally would be); I’m just saying you might want be careful that your use of force doesn’t exceed that standard. If the tagger threatens your personal safety, especially if it occurs on your property, the standards are quite different.

  • anticapita March 1, 2010 (7:27 am)

    That’s what we’re worried about Waterworld, we don’t believe he’s just a ‘harmless tagger’, we believe he has the potential to become dangerous.

Sorry, comment time is over.