Gatewood fire, report #3: Co-owner jailed on suspicion of arson

(Photo courtesy Kathryn)
While searching for information on the home set afire this morning in Gatewood (first report here; second report here), we stumbled into the trail of a story we can now report, as jail records indicate an arrest has been made: Booked into King County Jail about an hour ago for investigation of arson is 40-year-old John Christian Siegel, listed on county records as co-owning the home in the 7900 block of 39th SW. Harborview Medical Center confirmed to WSB this morning that he was the man taken there with non-life-threatening injuries from the fire. (WSB does not routinely identify suspects who are not yet charged, but we evaluate each story on a case-by-case basis.)

Siegel is a lawyer. In April, he made citywide news for a case that put him in jail for two months. He was charged with felony domestic-violence stalking and domestic-violence witness tampering against his wife, who is also listed as an owner of the Gatewood home, and with harassment of a judge who was involved in the case. He made a plea bargain, with the felony charges reduced to misdemeanors, according to this Seattle Weekly report following his release from jail on May 20th. Court documents filed after his arrest earlier this year show a Mercer Island address for Siegel, and said his wife had been living in the Gatewood home, though we don’t know if that was still the case. Siegel is likely to have a bail hearing tomorrow; we will be checking with prosecutors in the morning.

9:54 AM UPDATE: There is indeed a bail hearing set for this afternoon.

24 Replies to "Gatewood fire, report #3: Co-owner jailed on suspicion of arson"

  • Sonoma June 28, 2011 (10:57 pm)

    Not that I would ever pre-judge people, but this gentleman sounds like a real winner. It’s guys like this who undermine the sterling reputation of lawyers! ; )

    • WSB June 28, 2011 (11:06 pm)

      Pre-emptive strike against lawyer-bashing. Almost all of us need one at some time or another. You’ll find all types of people in any profession (including mine, Lord knows) – TR (the law was my mom’s last profession)

  • JanS June 28, 2011 (11:07 pm)

    this guy’s a real gem, huh…

  • Weiss June 28, 2011 (11:14 pm)

    Let’s not forget that he also threatened to kill a judge.

  • anonymous June 28, 2011 (11:15 pm)

    From the news article link: “Siegel broke her jaw in 2008, Christiansen says, and has continued to harass her. She obtained a protection order to keep him at bay last year, but he has repeatedly violated it, police say.” It also said he’s threatened to kill her. My god. His behavior is terrifying and disgusting. Domestic violence is horrific and more common in our society than we like to think. I hope they lock him away for good this time. May his wife find peace and safety far far away.

  • JoB June 29, 2011 (7:04 am)

    i would say what i really think about this man
    but it would never make it past the filter.

  • Yardvark June 29, 2011 (7:46 am)

    Such a sad story. I hope the wife is safe and with friends and family. Also hope that the bail is denied. This guy seems to have serious mental issues and can’t be allowed out on his own.
    Would it be beneficial to post some services here for those dealing with domestic abuse?

  • Jeff June 29, 2011 (8:16 am)

    This has nothing to do with his profession. I hope as this story progresses in the local media that it’s portrayed as a serious domestic violence issue.

  • bs June 29, 2011 (8:38 am)

    I happened to be one of the first to show up and actually removed this guy from the porch and got him away from the house while my son called 911. When we arrived, he was sitting on the front porch in a daze while the house was going up in flames. He was bleeding profusely from what I took as self inflicted cuts to his wrist.

    • WSB June 29, 2011 (8:54 am)

      Folks: We will likely get more documentation later in the day or tomorrow, depending on when a bail hearing is scheduled (we’ll be checking with the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office once they’re open for business), but in the meantime, though we have chosen to identify the suspect, regarding the fire itself, it’s still “innocent until proven guilty.” BS – re: the other injuries, in our multiple calls to police and fire departments through the day to check on and verify information, that was mentioned at one point by police, but conflicting information emerged later, so we did not include it – he was still on the stretcher when I arrived at the scene but no particular injuries were visible. – TR

  • Alki Resident June 29, 2011 (8:39 am)

    Im pretty sure this wont be the last time we hear about this guy.He sounds bound an determined to go with his plan of destruction.

  • NotMe June 29, 2011 (9:21 am)

    Isn’t it amazing what two people see? How can it be that one person sees him “bleeding profusely” from the wrists, and another doesn’t see any injuries? I hope the bashing stops until the whole story comes out. I am not defending the guy, but I doubt seriously anyone here even knows him or was there… well, except for the “eye” witness that saw profuse bleeding from his wrists.

    • WSB June 29, 2011 (9:34 am)

      NM – I talked briefly to three ladies standing closest to the scene, one of whom said she had called 911. Don’t know if our commenter here is one of them. But the commenter would have been a lot closer to the guy than I was, scampering down the hill to try to get a picture without getting in fire crews’ way (and after talking to them briefly, I spotted the steep unpaved driveway across the street and detoured up there for an overview). Once people are bundled onto stretchers, they are usually only visible from shoulders up. So I don’t doubt that’s how it looked to that person. I was just noting why we hadn’t mentioned that potential aspect. – TR
      (added) Confirmed with KCPAO, he will be in court for a bail hearing this afternoon.

  • One More Opinion June 29, 2011 (9:22 am)

    Why on EARTH was this lunatic offered a plea deal? He was released in May after getting his charges reduced and now he’s putting the general public in danger along with his family and the judge he threatened. What else does he need to do before he won’t be allowed to work the system???? Actually kill someone?

  • Lisa June 29, 2011 (9:25 am)

    I agree with Jeff. This is a domestic violence story. The fact that he’s a lawyer isn’t relevant.

    Sounds like he got just a slap in the hand previously when he was prosecuted for DV (and found guilty). Whether or not he’s found guilty I hope the prosecution will be given more attention this time.

    If he’s found guilty he should not get another trivial penalty.

  • Mitch June 29, 2011 (10:27 am)

    Didn’t the media stop referring to woman as ‘ladies’ like 30 years ago or something?

    • WSB June 29, 2011 (11:04 am)

      That’s the one linked in the story “this Seattle Weekly report following his release …” Though he was released on 5/20, they didn’t write about it till 6/9. Not that I am criticizing – I know firsthand how tough it is to track court cases – and even higher-profile ones than this can go to plea bargains without fanfare till an enterprising reporter makes a routine check (that’s how we were the first to find out about a plea deal in the Highland Park racist-motive beating case, for one … three weeks after the fact! ). News organizations tend to put “next scheduled court date” on their calendar, and then suddenly before then, something changes in the case – TR

  • Siegel Is Nutz June 29, 2011 (11:53 am)

    I have had to worry about this guy for about a year now. He has made my wife scared for her life several times. I know of other people that have the same fear. We hope with all of our heart that he is finally put somewhere before he does kill someone. Mentally unstable person and it his track record is absolute proof…

  • Alki Resident June 29, 2011 (12:55 pm)

    To”One more opinion”, the answer is YES.But he’ll most likely be one to do a murder suicide because all behaviors point to that.Im a victim and survivor of DV.My abuser went on to do a murder suicide and left me alone.He showed all the signs of this Siegel guy.He wont stop until he kills.

  • Dale June 30, 2011 (8:03 am)

    Thats to much angst and anger to carry. Move on. Calm down. If you can’t get help.

  • T-Townie June 30, 2011 (9:18 am)

    While he has been going through his personal problems he has been lawyer-ing. Early this year he abandoned our case before it was done resulting in us signing a settlement agreement that hardly resembled what he told us it would be. He left us in the lurch and his 10 clients have since been threatened with foreclosure. Can’t generalize all lawyers with this guy, but where is the protection for his clients that received sub-par services while his personal life was falling apart? There is always fallout… Guess the chances of getting our records back from him are now nil…

  • Siegel Is Nutz June 30, 2011 (3:49 pm)

    Dale, that was not an angry post. It was just making a statment for people that may not know the situation like you don’t… Reading some of the post made me add my 2 cents. The guy has been running around with a switch blade trying to scare people. Making death threats and keeping a list of who he would like to kill. So you can be as calm as you want but I am hoping that the guy is put away so he can’t act out on his threats. “Angst and anger” is different then concerned and aware…

  • supportive neighbor July 1, 2011 (12:30 am)

    Angst and anger is a normal response to this kind of behavior, which is legitimately terrifying. Besides, I don’t read any anger in that post. Seigel is Nutz, best wishes to you and your wife, no one should have to go through that.

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