West Seattle Crime Watch followup: Ryan Cox out of jail after hate-crime guilty plea, sentencing

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

This morning, a case we’ve been checking on since last fall is resolved: The hate-crime case against 35-year-old Ryan J. Cox has ended with a guilty plea, and he is out of jail after sentencing last Friday.

This case dates back to last October, when Cox was charged with malicious harassment (hate crime) and third-degree assault after hitting a man four times with a baseball bat as they exited a bus on Avalon Way, with Cox shouting homophobic slurs because of his perception of the man’s sexual orientation.

Police arrested Cox the next day at Solstice Park northeast of Lincoln Park, an area he has been known to frequent since his previous involvement in high-profile cases.

Those cases started with his 2009 arrests for anti-gay-graffiti vandalism (image at right was provided by SPD at the time) and a similar arrest in August 2010. Cox was found not competent to stand trial in those cases, and charges were dismissed.

This is Cox’s first felony conviction, though his record of misdemeanors, listed again in documents for Friday’s sentencing, includes convictions ranging from vehicle prowling in the mid-’90s to property destruction and carrying a concealed weapon in 2010. The latter two involved a tire-slashing case for which he received a suspended sentence, as reported here.

Back to this case: Two months after his October arrest, as reported here last December, he was found not competent and committed to Western State Hospital for attempted restoration of competency. Since then, he was found competent to stand trial – a trial since pre-empted by his guilty pleas. We have been checking the online file in the case periodically, and that’s how we discovered today that he has pleaded guilty and been sentenced.

For his guilty pleas to malicious harassment (hate crime) and third-degree assault in this case, court documents show, King County Superior Court Judge Dean Lum sentenced Cox on Friday afternoon to what the prosecution requested – 8 months for each count (“standard range” is listed in court documents as 6 months to a year for malicious harassment, 3 to 6 months for third-degree assault), with credit for time served.

He’s been in jail since his arrest last October – nine months – and the jail register shows he was released last Friday night.

29 Replies to "West Seattle Crime Watch followup: Ryan Cox out of jail after hate-crime guilty plea, sentencing"

  • todd_ July 29, 2013 (11:00 am)

    Thanks for the heads up. Any bets on how soon until he offends again? Revolving door with this guy. Thanks for following this guy and his crimes for the past 5 years or so.

  • WSB July 29, 2013 (11:04 am)

    We do have a long list of people we keep checking on, as their cases proceed (relatively slowly) through the system. Also, before anyone asks – I have not yet found a file photo to add to this; they were all via SPD, and their semi-recent web revamp seems to have “broken” all the photos linked in our file stories. – TR

  • TheOtherDude July 29, 2013 (11:08 am)

    The system is so messed up. They can commit him to “restore his competency” to just let him out right after that. Why not keep him committed and give him the help he needs so he doesn’t continue with his criminal behavior? Is it too much to ask? The guy has some obvious issues that need to be taken care of, why not attend to this? Or are they just waiting for his attacks to become more violent?

    • WSB July 29, 2013 (11:19 am)

      OtherDude – as noted somewhere in our copious coverage of Cox’s cases over the past four years, there isn’t much the state can do. And if you are found not competent – know what happens? You get a bus ticket back to the city and some walking money. Cox referred to this in a hearing we covered in a previous case – in which he also somewhat “explained” his homophobia motivation – archived story: https://westseattleblog.com/2010/01/charges-to-be-dismissed-again-for-homophobic-graffiti-suspect
      Re: the photo question, please see my earlier comment. If I get one, I’ll add. There was a red-suited mugshot of sorts a few years ago but I saw him while covering a session in Mental Health Court a couple years ago and he looks NOTHING like that, so it’s not worth reusing and if you see it anywhere, don’t use it for reference.

      • WSB July 29, 2013 (11:35 am)

        UPDATE – found one (albeit small) image from 2009 to add.

  • Rod July 29, 2013 (11:08 am)

    Do you have any photos of this guy? Checked all the links to previous stories, but didn’t see one.

  • wscommuter July 29, 2013 (11:54 am)

    I would offer a gentle correction to the WSB’s response to TOD. When a person is “not competent”, it is not always that the person is released. If there is a demonstrable risk of that person hurting others, then that person can be committed civilly. I know nothing about this case – but Assault 3 is the lowest level felony assault and because WA is a determinate sentencing state, his time in custody upon conviction is a proscribed amount of time – he would have done that time by now. He would have to commit a more serious assault (which I sincerely hope he doesn’t) to get real time. Likewise, the other reality of WA sentencing statutes is that when one is convicted of a felony, the judge cannot order “affirmative” conditions, such as “you must go to mental health treatment and be on meds”. The judge is only allowed to impose “negative” conditions, such as “have no contact with _____”. Just the law.

    • WSB July 29, 2013 (12:13 pm)

      WSC – thanks, after decades of generalism, my knowledge is a mile wide but in most cases an inch deep. In this case, that’s what’s happened to Cox, repeatedly (I have spent a lot of time covering, researching, tracking his case in particular, because of everything that’s happened and the community concern), and yes, you’re right. In the view of the system – what he’s done or allegedly done has not, until this time, added up to injurious violence, so he’s not at this point someone they sought to keep. It’s lamented in so many contexts, but the way we deal with mental health, both in criminal and non-criminal circumstances, is often, itself, a crime … TR

  • Chris W July 29, 2013 (12:09 pm)

    Thanks, Tracy. I want to see this guy coming.

  • KBear July 29, 2013 (12:14 pm)

    “…the judge cannot order ‘affirmative’ conditions…”
    Then the judge should order him NOT to go WITHOUT mental health treatment.

  • Laura July 29, 2013 (12:14 pm)

    Any chance this guy moved into a house on the corner of 42nd and Findlay? While walking our dog yesterday evening someone in that house starting ranting at the top of his lungs asking “what are those effing people doing?” Then “get that effing dog off my lawn”. He repeated each of these phrases a couple of times before yelling the “n word” at my boyfriend (who happens to be black). We didn’t even look back, just kept on walking, but someone came out of the house (we heard the door open and close). It was really scary and so unexpected from our quiet neighborhood. I’ve walked my dog past that house more times than I can count and never heard a peep. This guy was crazy!!!

  • Rod July 29, 2013 (12:24 pm)

    Oops, sorry Tracy, completely missed your mention of the photo in your first comment…(obviously).

  • wsn00b July 29, 2013 (12:31 pm)

    A google search for “ryan cox west seattle” brings up http://www.bloodwarsmagazine.com/blog/?p=1457 which has some old photos. However, like WSB@ said, he probably doesn’t look like that anymore.

    • WSB July 29, 2013 (1:10 pm)

      That is a total unauthorized scrape of our site (which is a violation of copyright and when I get a chance later, I’ll be writing them to demand takedown), not even attributed/linked (which would not erase the fact it’s a copyright violation). But those were the photos I was looking for.

  • walkinggirl July 29, 2013 (1:22 pm)

    This really upsets and scares me. He was hanging out for a while on my route to the grocery store, which I walk at least four days a week. He’s clearly escalated, and there was the episode with him carrying a knife. It’s bad enough having that creepy scary clearly mentally ill man with the shopping cart in the Morgan Junction neighborhood — a few days ago, I was walking past Beveridge Place Pub and that man started running at me with his shopping cart as if he was going to ram it past me on his way to wherever, and nearly hit me with it at full force as I jumped out of the way at the last second. Now I have to start watching out for Cox again…

    I just don’t understand why they are not even attempting to do something about this. They clearly don’t care about someone walking down the street, or getting off a bus, or doing things they should be able to do without fear. These people in the legal system clearly have no idea what it’s like to have to weigh whether or not you just want to go get your groceries or pet food or what have you vs. getting your head bashed in or getting stabbed. It just infuriates me.

  • MrElliott July 29, 2013 (1:34 pm)

    I hope Ryan Cox is given the medical attention he so desperately needs before he commits another atrocity. West Seattle is a wonderful community and to allow individuals like Ryan Cox – and the racist that verbally accosted Laura and her boyfriend – in our community is neither desirable nor welcome.

  • enough July 29, 2013 (1:38 pm)

    Sorry that happened to you Laura.

  • Heather July 29, 2013 (2:57 pm)

    Laura and Walkinggirl – you didn’t mention it so I would urge you to report these incidents to the police. It’s worth your time and that’s one of the things that the police monitor and are trained to deal with.

    For myself, I guess I’m shocked at what, in general, a hate crime and 3rd degree assault standard sentence ranges are…3-6 mos and 6-12 mos. I guess I’m getting less tolerant in my old-er age.

  • Heather July 29, 2013 (3:01 pm)

    I’d also like to add that I am constantly impressed with the variety, accuracy and reporting follow-up of news provided by WSB. It’s refreshing to be able to depend on accuracy w/in an article and I appreciate the mix of hard news with softer local events. A good read.

  • SJ2 July 29, 2013 (3:54 pm)

    This sickens me that he is out. I know for a while one of his hang out places was camp long. He would sit under one of the east shelters with his jug of milk peering down on the trails. Definitely be aware if you are in that area, assuming he will continue to hang out there.

  • JW July 29, 2013 (7:34 pm)

    Tracy, I can’t thank you enough for keeping on top of all of The news on Ryan Cox. His behavior has only gotten worse over the years and people should be very cautious if they see him.

  • ELL July 29, 2013 (9:22 pm)

    He’s obviously ill, I’m not defending him but he should be getting treatment in a secure facility because he’s obviously not getting better. In and out of jail is the worst thing for him – and the rest of us. It’s only a matter of time before he does something worse. Thanks for the report, I Googled him and found his photo which is good to have.

  • CJ July 30, 2013 (8:15 am)

    Tuesday update – I saw Ryan this morning at about 7:30am in the 6700 block of California. He was wearing a large red backpack and carrying a jug of milk. He appeared heavily medicated as he shuffled along in the northbound direction.

  • Lisa July 30, 2013 (11:35 am)

    Laura and Walking Girl – you most definitely should report this to the police. Why? The whole reason this guy was picked up is because I called the police from my house that day by Solstice Park. I could see him from across the street, out my window scaring a few people walking their dogs and interrupting tennis players.

    The reason why he was picked up and arrested and caught for that hate crime is because of me. I thought I was reporting a random incident, little did I know I took direct part and picking up someone who committed assault with a baseball bat not 24 hours before.

    It seems the only way to keep each other safe is to really have ZERO tolerance and really lean on the police via phone call after phone call about this guy.

    One thing I can add is that I saw the police ride by Solistice Park 3 minutes after I placed the call. They did not stop. They did not pull into the lot. They did not investigate at all. I called them right back and said, that you clearly missed him, as he is still there and you are going to have to make the effort to park your cruiser, get out and walk into the tennis courts where he is going off. Then and only then did they realize that I was watching them to see what they would do. A call is not enough. You must wait and make sure the police do something. Had I allowed them to simply ride by, this guy would’ve never been caught.

    Had I not insisted that the cops meet me at my house as they were arresting him to talk about what happened, agree to testify if need be and help any way I can, there would have been no justice for the poor man that was beaten the night before.

    Zero tolerance from him, as well as the police. Call, report, make sure the cops actually show up and do something, agree to help, get active in your community!

  • Rockford Columbo July 30, 2013 (1:18 pm)

    @ Lisa – Great effort, tenacity & words to lice by!

  • JW July 30, 2013 (2:22 pm)

    Lisa, I’m glad you were persistent with the police . Everyone that I know ( including myself ) who have been victims of Ryan Cox have also put pressure on the police to do something about him. Unfortunately , Mr Cox keeps being released by the courts time and time again . Each time his crimes have escalated . I feel certain that one of these days he will kill someone. I feel very bad for his family. I have met his Mom and she is a lovely caring person. I also feel bad for Mr Cox . He did not choose to be mentally ill but that illness does not mean that he should be allowed to roam the streets threatening innocent people. The state says there is no money to get him the care he needs so unfortunatly for all of us ,we have to keep a watchful eye out as to not run into him.

  • enough July 30, 2013 (4:06 pm)

    The system is broken, Cox is proof. He is going to run into the wrong person one day.

  • JKB July 30, 2013 (7:19 pm)

    And the headline news is the hate crime? Sounds like Cox did two things: call a guy names, and whack him with a bat. Which one was the felony?

    (answer per the RCW: they are the same. Both are class C felonies. The law says that saying “you bleeping *slur word here*” is the same as breaking heads.)

  • really?? July 31, 2013 (1:34 pm)

    No, July 30 posting by ‘enough”, it is not that Cox will run into the wrong person…it is that the wrong person, read as innocent bystander, will have the misfortune of running into him! I should know, seeing as how there is a restraining order against him on my behalf. Not that a piece of paper will protect me when he returns.

Sorry, comment time is over.