Guilty plea in last September’s Roxhill Park murder case

(Memorial in Roxhill Park paying tribute to murder victim Bernard Martin, September 2010)
The 22-year-old man jailed for beating another man to death in Roxhill Park last September has pleaded guilty. We discovered this on a routine check of court records this weekend. Chatri Thip was charged with killing 40-year-old Bernard Martin by jumping onto him and smashing a shopping cart against him. This past week in King County Superior Court, Thip pleaded guilty to second-degree murder, the original charge against him. His written statement blames an “aggression-laden environment” at the park the night it happened, starting, he claimed, after a group upset he had gotten his girlfriend pregnant – including her half-brothers – attacked him. The murder victim was not part of that attack, Thip wrote. The original charging documents had said Thip had six beers that night – stolen from the nearby Safeway – and told police he experiences rage when he drinks, and lashed out when Martin came up to him in the park and asked for a beer. Court documents indicate prosecutors will recommend the lower end of the standard sentencing range, 11 years and 2 months in prison (the high end is just under 20 years). Thip is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Susan Craighead at 1 pm September 23rd.

14 Replies to "Guilty plea in last September's Roxhill Park murder case"

  • Jasperblu July 25, 2011 (6:28 am)

    Only 11 years for taking another mans life by smashing him to death with a shopping cart? Wow. How totally appropriate. Not.
    I’m so tired of criminals whining about their sad sack lives being the reason for them going out and hurting, robbing, raping, killing other people. Six beers makes you go bonkers? Bonkers enough to jump up and down on another human being until he dies? I realize our jails are full, but this creep is already a waste of oxygen, why on earth should he ever be allowed to get out of jail after what he did?
    Criminal “justice” system? Eh. Not so much.

  • CMeagh July 25, 2011 (8:26 am)

    “Court documents indicate prosecutors will recommend the lower end of the standard sentencing range, 11 years and 2 months in prison (the high end is just under 20 years).”

    – So Chartri Thip stole from Safeway, got drunk and beat a man to death and prosecutors are seeking the lower end of the sentencing range? I don’t understand why they aren’t seeking the max.

  • ttt July 25, 2011 (8:29 am)

    only 11 years for killing a stranger who asked a harmless question?? What is wrong with the judge? I totally agree with you Jasperblu.

  • Lfauntleroy July 25, 2011 (8:37 am)

    Im so offended that this man would not be sentenced to the maximum time in prison for this random act of murder! What is the deal?

  • M July 25, 2011 (8:58 am)

    I completely agree with all of the above reactions -I’m just trying to figure out why this guy is practically getting away with murder?! When he’s let out of prison 11 years from now, I’m sure he’ll really be quite a winner! Yikes…

  • Neighbor July 25, 2011 (9:47 am)

    Perhaps the outraged need to contact the judge and the prosecutor. It’s disgusting that a life taken means so little. Isn’t it psychotic behavior? If this man could be set off so easily and kill someone why should he be allowed to live amongst the rest of us?

  • My Eye July 25, 2011 (10:33 am)

    Yes Neighbor, I think I will. I completely agree, this is discusting.

  • My Eye July 25, 2011 (11:40 am)

    Just reread the following (only 11 years?):

    The defendant’s criminal history includes a 2008 conviction for Rendering Criminal Assistance in the First Degree relating to a murder committed in Pacific, Washington; a 2006 conviction for Taking a Motor Vehicle Without the Owner’s Permission; and a 2005 conviction for Assault in the Fourth Degree.” His arraignment is set for October 12th.

  • bridge to somewhere July 25, 2011 (2:24 pm)

    I might add: it’d be great if SPD officers got out of their squad cars and actually did a sweep of city parks at night. It’s illegal to drink in Seattle parks, and perhaps a stroll through Roxhill on that September evening would have compelled this monster to leave the park.

  • Teresa July 25, 2011 (4:21 pm)

    @CMeagh and then subtract time for good behavior. He could be out in like 8 years or so.

  • Karen & Robert July 25, 2011 (4:23 pm)

    You wonder if the victim hadn’t been a sometimes homeeless person and had been say a CEO from Medina if the killer would have gotten more than 11 years. Our justice system is really, really pathetic. This is just another horrible thing for Mr. Martin’s family to endure. He stopped by a garage sale we were having the weekend before and seemed like a very gentle soul.

  • M. July 25, 2011 (5:00 pm)

    Even the maximum sentence seems insufficient.

  • waterworld July 25, 2011 (7:02 pm)

    Teresa and CMeagh: Regarding good time deduction from the sentence, second degree murder is classified as a “serious violent offense,” and qualifies for no more than 10% off for good time. By my calculation, that would mean that on a sentence of 11 years 2 months, the defendant would serve at least 10 years 7 months.

    As for why the sentence recommendation is not the maximum allowable, there could be many reasons that we don’t know about at this point. As part of the sentencing process, both the prosecutor and the defense lawyer will submit materials to the court explaining why the sentence should be whatever it is they want. If you get a chance to read those before the sentencing hearing, you may find that there is information that changes your assessment. Or not. Often, prosecutors agree to lower sentences within the standard range set for the crime because the defendant is willing to plead as charged and not put the victim’s family or witnesses through a trial. Or, it could be that there’s something about the defendant that we do not know, such as a history of mental illness, that leads both the prosecutors and the defense lawyer to believe that his sentence should be less than a similarly-situated person who does not suffer from mental illness. These are just examples of reasons why this happens — I’m not taking a position on what is appropriate. I will say, though, that the whole idea of setting a range of possible sentences, as opposed to a fixed sentence for a crime that is the same for everyone no matter what, is that it allows the court to impose sentences that reflect relevant differences from one case to the next.

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