West Seattle, Washington
Tomorrow is Flag Day, and you are invited to observe it at West Seattle’s American Legion Post 160 in The Triangle, with flags accepted for retirement as well:
The American Legion Post 160 of West Seattle will hold a brief Flag Day Ceremony at noon on Saturday June 14. The ceremony will be held at the flag pole located at 3618 SW Alaska St.
Flag Day is a commemoration of the adoption of the flag of the United States which happened in 1777. President Woodrow Wilson officially established June 14th as Flag Day in 1916 by official proclamation.
Post 160 will also accept any worn or un-serviceable American flags for proper disposal at that time. A small, voluntary donation will be accepted to help defray the costs of the flag retirements.
(WSB file photo of mini-train at Westwood Village)
Clouds or sun, the Westwood Village Street Fair is on for tomorrow, and sponsoring WSB this week to get the word out. The fair runs 10 am-6 pm on Saturday; organizers promise “amusement rides for the kids as well as the little train that goes around the center … (also) a couple food trucks and plenty of vendor booths to check out.” Here’s the on-stage event schedule, including bands playing from 1-6 pm:
10:00 AM 24 Hour Fitness – Group -X Class
11:00 AM West Seattle Wellness – Nutritionist
11:30 AM Chico’s – Fashion Show
12:00 Noon West Seattle Wellness – Yoga Instruction
1:00 PM Band #1 Gunn
2:15 PM Band #2 Neal Storme and his Band of Amazing Friends
3:30 PM West Seattle Wellness – Hip Hop Instruction
4:00 PM Band #3 Red Sun Revue
5:00 PM Band #4 F-Holes
Last fall, we shared the link for you to take a survey about Sound Transit‘s Long Range Plan Update – light rail to West Seattle, maybe? Word is, there was lots of West Seattle response, and last month ST offered an update about some possibilities (as reported here). However – the plan update is still a work in progress, and as part of the process, now the agency is out with the Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement. Here’s where you come in this time around: The comment process for the DSEIS includes a NEW online survey that you can take – go here – and/or, follow the plan link above to see other ways to comment. (Thanks to Eric for the tip!)
(TOPLINE: Lovett “Cid” Chambers has been sentenced to 11 1/2 years for the shooting death of Travis Hood; as-it-happened coverage below)
2 PM: We are at the King County Courthouse, where the criminal-court judges preside over sentencings on Friday afternoons. This afternoon in the courtroom of Superior Court Judge Theresa B. Doyle, the sentencing hearing is beginning for Lovett “Cid” Chambers, the 69-year-old Gatewood man (new photo from today at right) found guilty of manslaughter for the January 2012 shooting of 36-year-old Travis Hood (left) outside Morgan Junction Park. We covered every day of the six weeks of testimony in his trial (coverage links here), concluding April 8th with the jury’s verdict. According to a court document filed this week, prosecutors recommend a 13 1/2-year sentence (162 months) including the five mandatory years for use of a gun, with credit for time served (almost 2 1/2 years so far, since the night of the shooting). More than 25 people are in court for the hearing; we will add updates as the proceedings unfold. Two are holding up signs that say “No Jail for Self-Defense.”
(At tables, from left: prosecutors Margaret Nave & Mari Isaacson, SPD Det. Tim DeVore, defense lawyers Lauren McLane & Ben Goldsmith flanking Lovett Chambers)
Chambers is in jail orange – during the trial, he wore street clothes. Defense lawyer Ben Goldsmith begins by asking Judge Doyle to allow Chambers to be unshackled, and she grants the request. A brief moment of tension ensues – the deputies say they can’t do that without consulting a supervisor; they make a call, and say they are cleared.
2:46 PM: We are starting the sentencing coverage itself here – our chronicling of the previous 45 minutes of argument over whether to grant a new trial (a motion just denied by the judge) is now below the jump. The judge notes that she has received many, many letters in support of Chambers – she says she doesn’t believe she’s ever received so many letters in any case.
Prosecutor “Maggie” Nave speaks first, noting that Chambers spent most of 1966 through 1989 in prison for several major crimes, but they don’t count here for various reasons, so his “offender score is 0,” meaning a relatively light sentence, aside from the mandatory 5 years for use of a firearm.
As noted above, she says the state is asking for “high end of standard sentence,” 102 months for the manslaughter conviction, as “the defendant recklessly fired a .45-caliber handgun at the victim … repeatedly … three shots … It’s very likely the first shot was not a fatal shot … if the defendant had stopped at one shot, it’s likely Michael “Travis” Hood would be here today. … The defendant’s actions in this case were extremely reckless” even, she says, if you believe the defendant’s self-defense contention.
“The first thing is that he retrieved his handgun from (his car) … a handgun that he, a convicted felon, was not allowed to possess … (The second thing) is that he followed (the victim and his friend) up the street … when he had so many other options,” such as running into one of the two nearby bars, made a call for help, run down the street in the opposite direction. “He didn’t do any of those things.” And third, “he shot Travis repeatedly – if he had just stopped shooting, things would have been different. And (finally), he did this while (extremely drunk).” (Almost three times the legal limit, it was noted early in the trial.)
She says the facts of a case cited by the defense as grounds for a light sentence are not comparable to this one. She also says the defense is wrong to contend that a standard sentence would be “overly harsh” because of Chambers’ age and because he has been a law-abiding member of the community since the late ’80s. She acknowledges the circumstances the night of the shooting were “complicated.” Regarding the defendant having “precious few years when he gets out” even if only sentenced to 5 years, she says she wants to say on the record that Travis Hood “has no good years left,” and might have had 40 years left if he had not been shot dead. “He has a friend, a mother, a child … his mother and friends had to sit here in court day after die and endure the defense (portraying him as) a racist, violent person.”
3:04 PM: Brenda Hood, Travis’s mother, reads a letter from his daughter, Destiny Williams, 12 when he was killed. It speaks of crying, of counseling, of depression: “I miss my dad with all my heart. I dream about him a lot. I wake up crying. My world was taken away, and it doesn’t seem like anyone cares.” The letter speaks of never seeing her dad again, of not being able to have him walk her down the aisle someday. Brenda Hood now says that she bought her own plane ticket to Seattle twice and also paid tens of thousands for medical and funeral costs for her son. “While Travis won’t be back in this world, I would like to see justice for him. … I’d like to say the defendant showed no remorse throughout the whole trial … didn’t even show any sadness that the shooting had taken place.” She says she won’t forgive him – “only God can forgive him” – that she hopes he dies in jail and “rot(s) in hell.”
Next, Jodie Davis, a friend of Travis Hood’s, who along with the victim’s mother was in court daily throughout the trial.
She shows a photo of him as he prepared to leave Jacksonville for Seattle, and points out he was “the only white person in the photo.” Through tears, she said she thought that Seattle would be a great place for him, and she says she still has no idea what happened that night, and expresses her sadness that she will never see him again. At 3:11 pm, the judge calls for the afternoon recess. The hearing should reconvene by 3:30 pm.
3:29 PM, HEARING RESUMES: “The state wants Mr. Chambers to die in prison for defending himself,” opens defense lawyer Goldsmith. He gets to the point of the N word – and the variant on it that Hood’s friend Davis had used before the break, saying that it was just the way – as Hood’s friend Jamie Vause had testified during the trial – they referred to each other. Goldsmith contends that in any variant, if used by a white person, it is a slur against an African-American person, and a declaration that their life has no value. So, he says, when those words were used by Hood and Vause that night, “why wouldn’t Mr. Chambers panic? … Lord help any of us faced with a threat to their life and doesn’t behave the way (prosecutors) think they should.” He says the law allows an exceptional (low) sentence in this case. “Mr. Chambers is a kind, gentle, peaceful person, drunk or sober,” he says testimony showed. He speaks of Mr. Chambers’ wife Sara Chambers (who is here today) saying he “gets silly” when intoxicated. Even a prosecution witness, he says, described Chambers as “relaxed” that night. “He had love, friends, family, home, work, anything anybody could ever want. He had a gun that he wasn’t allowed to have. But in the two decades that he had it, he never pulled that gun in anger … Mr. Chambers told the court what happened, exactly what he was thinking, feeling, and he was consistent throughout.”
Goldsmith said even the prosecution witnesses did not describe Chambers’ actions as “following” them. He says even prosecution witness Vause’s description supports that Chambers was acting in self-defense – jumping back, shots close in time, “presence of a deadly weapon (shovel) in Mr. Hood’s hands … There’s no question that Mr. Chambers was in a fight for his life that night.”
Judge Doyle asks, “… when the jury rejected the self-defense theory,” how could the judge take that into account in sentencing?
Goldsmith says the court is entitled to make its sentencing decision separate from what was proven to the jury, and says that much of the testimony corroborated that Chambers could have and did perceive that he was in danger. But, he said, “I’m not asking the court to give him a significant sentence downward based on … that he is a good and peaceful person …” and again mentions that the court received letters of support from people who have known Chambers for “not only years, but decades.” He mentions a letter from someone whom Mr. Chambers helped deal with a threat, and said that he offered to that person that he would “help (her) work with police and courts.”
Regarding prosecutor’s Nave suggestion that he should have run away or could have taken some other action, Goldsmith mentions it happened within seconds, another sign it wasn’t reckless. Regarding his drunkenness, “it was tantamount to him being drunk in his own living room” because it was someplace he had been going for years. Finally “if nothing else, this case has demonstrated to me the living value of my talking because frankly I can’t imagine a world in which Mr. Chambers should have been convicted, and when I talk to people about this case, they are constantly shocked that he was convicted. .. There is not much I can do for Mr. Chambers but the law allows this court to do what is right.”
Chambers’ wife Sara now is coming up to speak.
“I’ve been married to him for more than 22 years. He’s always been a kind and gentle husband … has many friends .. I’ve seen him sober, I’ve seen him drunk, I’ve seen him happy and sad, and consistently he is an even-tempered man who thinks of other people as much as he thinks of himself …” He would only do something like this if he feels his life is threatened, she concludes.
Chambers himself declines the chance to speak.
Judge Doyle (left): “I don’t think this is an appropriate case for a sentence below the standard range.”
She says that his 20 years of law-abiding community life is not a criteria for that. She acknowledges the difficulty of the case and testimony – “imperfect self-defense.” She recaps the different versions of that January night’s events, told by Jamie Vause and by Lovett Chambers.
“It’s clear the jury didn’t believe the self-defense theory and … found him guilty of manslaughter, apparently finding that he recklessly caused the death of Mr. Hood. What wasn’t disputed was that Mr. Chambers had a .20 blood alcohol content many hours after (the shooting) … it may be that he doesn’t remember much of what happened.” She continues recapping what testimony said led up to “Mr. Hood picking up the shovel, Mr. Chambers shooting him three times. There really was no sensible explanation about why (he) would follow Mr. Hood and Mr. Vause up to the truck. That was the big gap. Why did he do that?” So, she said, she did not find a reason to impose a sentence below the 78 to 102-month standard range. “I do however find this an appropriate case for the bottom of the standard range and for all those same reasons – there was a very sharp division in what happened.”
3:54 PM: So, she summarizes, based on everything she’s heard, “the court thinks it’s appropriate to impose the bottom of the standard range – that’s 78 months.” And she notes there is no discretion in the additional 60-month firearm enhancement. 138 months total, with credit for time served (he has been in jail since shortly after the shooting 2 1/2 years ago).
Judge Doyle also orders the standard no-contact orders for witnesses and 36 months of community custody (probation); there also will be a restitution hearing at some point. Goldsmith asks for an “appeal bond” of $50,000. Judge Doyle says she would rather make that decision at another date, given that it’s already 4 pm. Nave says another hearing on a motion is pending and so they don’t want Chambers sent to state prison until that hearing, and the “appeal bond” hearing, can be held. The hearing is set for 8:30 am next Wednesday (June 18th).
We recorded video of the hearing and will upload upon return to HQ, adding here later tonight, along with more photos from the hearing.
(Added late Friday/early Saturday – the sentencing video in 2 parts, before and after the 3:11 pm break)
BELOW: THE FIRST 45 MINUTES OF THE HEARING, THE (DENIED) ‘NEW-TRIAL’ MOTION:
(SDOT screengrab from Tuesday, tweeted about 20 minutes after the crash)
Questions remain regarding Tuesday’s 5-hour closure of 4 miles of the southbound Alaskan Way Viaduct/Highway 99 while Seattle Police investigated a head-on crash south of the West Seattle Bridge. Our first followup on Wednesday on some early answers – such as, that SPD is solely responsible for making road-closure decisions in cases like this, and believed this was the safest, fastest way to keep traffic away from the crash scene. Also in that first followup, Councilmember Tom Rasmussen, the West Seattleite who chairs the council’s Transportation Committee, told us he would be following up. He has just sent this to acting SDOT Director Goran Sparrman and acting SPD Chief Harry Bailey. Following the letter, you’ll also see the results of our latest inquiry with SPD. First, Rasmussen’s letter:
Many questions have been raised regarding Tuesday’s decision by the Seattle Police Department (SPD) to close all southbound lanes and access to the Highway 99 Viaduct, from the northern end of the Battery Street Tunnel to the West Seattle Bridge. The closure was to investigate a car accident that occurred in the southbound lane at the intersection of East Marginal Way and S. Nevada Street at approximately 1:45 p.m. South of the Spokane Street Viaduct. The entire route was closed until about 7:00 PM.
I understand the importance of creating a safe site and undisturbed conditions to allow officers to conduct a thorough investigation of the automobile crash. However, there are lingering questions as to why this length of SR-99 remained close for so many hours when the accident occurred south of Spokane Street and there are exits from SR-99 at the West Seattle Bridge and at Atlantic Street.
Please provide the following information:
That’s just part of what’s been donated already during the clothing/textiles (towels, sheets, etc.) dropoff drive that culminates today outside Denny International Middle School – along with a canopied stack of bags that have been dropped off, a room inside the school is full of what students and their families brought before today’s big finale. (It’s a fundraiser; the recycler pays them by the pound.) You are invited to bag up whatever you can donate and drop it off outside Denny (2601 SW Kenyon) before 4 pm. Our original preview includes a link with full details on what they can and can’t accept.
Two West Seattle business updates.
REDLINE WS OWNER AILING: Just half a year after Redline WS opened at 35th/Avalon, it hasn’t expanded operations as much as envisioned, and Kris Quigley, a friend of owner Mike Bauer, e-mailed to explain that Mike’s been ill and to share a crowdfunding link in addition to a request for support in general:
First of all, Mike would like to thank everyone who has supported RedlineWS and his dream of a neighborhood sports bar that everyone can enjoy.
I would really like to let everyone know of Mike’s condition and the reasons why his true vision of an amazing sports bar didn’t quite come together as he had envisioned. His ongoing illness has really impacted his ability to manage and operate the restaurant and has left Mike with an underfunded new business and mounting bills associated with medical bills etc. With continued support we would love to see Mike get the medical attention he needs to get his health back and see the sports bar grow into a West Seattle staple restaurant that everyone can enjoy for years to come.
As explained on the GoFundMe page, “Mike is suffering from a debilitating illness that has attacked his nervous system, making tasks as simple as walking impossible.” The diagnosis remains a mystery. However, Redline IS open, Kris says – “Lack of funding didn’t allow for keeping the coffee shop open in the early morning at 5 am as we intended. So for now the restaurant opens at 11 am and is open till 9 pm for under 21 and open till 2 am for over 21. We have a strong trivia night Wednesdays, a newly put-together family-friendly karaoke on Tuesdays till 9pm, and Thursdays Free Poker is starting” and even just going there would be welcome support, Kris says: “Give the bar a chance knowing the obstacles Mike faced to open it and understand that it is still truly a work in progress.”
YOUNG AT ART CLOSED: Just shy of two years ago, the art classes/studio business Young At Art had to leave its Junction location, as did all the businesses at 42nd/Alaska/California, because of the then-impending Equity Residential development (although demolition ultimately did not start for months). YAA found a new home at Fauntleroy/Raymond. But now, it’s closed, according to both a sign outside and a note on Facebook from owner Theresa:
The time over the last 3 years has been nothing short of magical to me and my children. I am in great hopes that the idea of freestyle art and getting downright messy, covered in paint up to your chin in recycle projects, has made its way into your children’s lives, your homes and hearts, as much as the time I have spent with your children has made an impression on my life that I can never forget. The studio is now in the process of closing up…maybe not forever.. but for now it’s time to say thank you and have a great summer. Enjoy your children and all the amazing creative wild adventures you have with them.
The message outside the studio also wishes everyone a great summer. (Thanks to all the readers who e-mailed to ask/tip us about this closure.)
Happy Friday! Thanks to Michael Brophy for the sun-dappled West Seattle aerial view, photographed toward the end of his flight home on Thursday evening. Not sure if we’ll get any sunshine today, but some big fun is on the calendar anyway, indoors AND outdoors:
LOW TIDE GETS EVEN LOWER: At 11:40 am, it’s down to -3.1, and that’s *very* low. Volunteer beach naturalists are out again today at Constellation and Lincoln Parks, 9:30 am-1:30 pm.
NORTHWEST WINE ACADEMY ANNIVERSARY CONTINUES: In honor of the 10th anniversary of the Northwest Wine Academy on the north end of the South Seattle College (WSB sponsor) campus, you can check out their newest wines during 2-7 pm events again today and Saturday. Details in our calendar listing. (6000 16th SW)
HOE-DOWN DANCE AND BBQ DINNER: Starts with line-dancing lessons at 5:30 pm, baby-back-rib dinner served around 6, and dancing to Country Dave and the Pickin’ Crew; call ASAP for reservations if you don’t have them already – all the info’s here. At the Senior Center of West Seattle. (California/Oregon)
SWING DANCE: 6:30 pm, lessons with an instructor, 7 pm, swing dancing with the West Seattle Big Band – it’s “Swing Into Summer” at The Hall at Fauntleroy; more info in our preview from earlier this week. (9131 California SW)
BIG WEEKEND FOR YOUTH BASEBALL: From West Seattle Baseball via Facebook:
It’s a big weekend at the West Seattle Pee Wee Fields. Nineteen of the Northwest’s best 8U teams are playing in the West Seattle 8U Hardball Classic. Games start at 6:00 tonight and then again at 9:00 on Saturday and Sunday. This is really a great event to watch. Come support your local youth baseball.
(12th SW & Myrtle)
LIVE MUSIC AT SALTY’S, C & P, KENYON HALL, CASK, SKYLARK, FEEDBACK … you’ll find the listings on the calendar.
(WS high/low bridges and Highway 99 views; more cams on the WSB Traffic page)
Soggy weather so far this Friday morning, and some trouble so far, particularly on I-5, most recently a collision on the northbound side in the Seneca St. area, so give yourself extra commute time today.
No major road work is planned this weekend, by the way, but some major events in other neighborhoods might affect traffic – here’s the citywide weekend preview from SDOT. (Lots of graduations on that list, but the two big ones here aren’t mentioned, both Saturday at Southwest Athletic Complex, 2801 SW Thistle – WSHS at 2 pm, Sealth at 7 pm.)
LAST DAY OF SCHOOL: Today’s the day at more local independent schools, including Holy Rosary.
FERRY SCHEDULE CHANGES SUNDAY: June 15th is the start of the summer schedule, including more weekend service for Fauntleroy/Vashon/Southworth.
9:34 AM: If you’re headed this way instead of away from WS – note that there is a rollover crash reported on southbound I-5 in the vicinity of the West Seattle Bridge exit – just south of it, according to scanner traffic.
Less than a week of classes left for Seattle Public Schools and lots more good news to share before the school year ends. We have another report of local students showing their work at the district’s recent Middle School Science Fair – this time, from Madison Middle School‘s science department co-chair, teacher Fred Jenner:
Madison students worked hard on their science fair projects and a few represented our school at the Museum of Flight the evening of June 5.
Here are a few of Madison’s bright and cheery students demonstrating their science pizzazz at the Museum of Flight.
A few participants were pulling double duty needing to return for Madison’s musical performance that evening.
Although our school did not have recognized winners of this event, their willingness to attend the district science fair was representative of the strong character elements that Madison helps produce.
Congratulations to all the students on their hard work!