CRIME WATCH FOLLOWUP: Greenbelt stolen-car suspect charged, and accused of ‘rapid recidivism’

When we reported last week on the arrest of 26-year-old Joseph Depaco after a police search in the West Duwamish Greenbelt, we noted that court records revealed he had just been sentenced in another case. Tonight we have word of a charge filed in last week’s incident, plus an explanation of why he hadn’t begun serving the alternative sentence he got for the other case. (At left is a photo of Depaco we obtained from the state Corrections Department.)

The new charge filed by the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office is possession of a stolen vehicle, a felony. The vehicle in which police say they found Depaco in the greenbelt was a stolen Toyota Tacoma pickup. A passerby reported it as suspicious, and responding officers say that after they found Depaco asleep in the vehicle, he woke up and bolted, which led to a ground and air search that resulted in his arrest. (He is not charged in connection with the under-construction gun found in the vehicle.)

We had asked the KCPAO for more background on why Depaco wasn’t already in the residential drug-treatment program to which he was sentenced as part of a three-case plea bargain February 4th. He was supposed to enter the program within a few days, they explain, but after the sentencing, the treatment provider canceled the original date and said it would not have a bed available until today. Depaco had been out of jail since January 7th, which the KCPAO says was his original sentencing date, and that’s why the new charge was filed today with an “aggravating factor” of “rapid recidivism.” That could lengthen the sentence if he’s convicted. Tonight Depaco – who already has seven felony convictions – remains in jail in lieu of $50,000 bail and is due next for arraignment on the new charge February 28th.

39 Replies to "CRIME WATCH FOLLOWUP: Greenbelt stolen-car suspect charged, and accused of 'rapid recidivism'"

  • Alki resident February 14, 2022 (9:07 pm)

    A 26 yr old, 7 time felon deserves jail time not treatment. These criminals sure know how to work the system. 

    • Roger February 15, 2022 (7:11 am)

      They don’t have to “work the system”. This is the system.

  • Balderdash February 14, 2022 (9:36 pm)

    heh.. I read that as ‘rabid recidivism’.  God, the flood of jerks stealing, vandalizing and basically creating havoc is starting to get to be too much. Yeah, just put ’em in the cooler for awhile. You let him out again with 7 prior felony convictions, he’ll be right back at it, it does appear.

  • StopCuttingDownTrees February 14, 2022 (9:58 pm)

    Let’s hope he’s held accountable and serves a real, long sentence in prison this time. That will keep him away from drugs and prevent him from preying on more victims for a few years.

    • momosmom February 15, 2022 (7:06 am)

      Will it?     It’ll just stop him while he’s incarcerated but HE will have to be the one that wants to change for the better, no length of time will do that for him sometimes it will just make him worse.

      • StopCuttingDownTrees February 15, 2022 (3:43 pm)

        Every day he’s out of prison he’s a danger to the public. He’s got multiple felonies and he keeps escalating, so he’s not going to get better, anyway.

        • Jethro Marx February 15, 2022 (5:03 pm)

          I think you all lost me at the thought that prison may be free of drugs, much less that a stay might set one up for a drug and crime-free life. But I guess you’re hoping for a sentence in this case of cumulative bad stuff life in prison, as a sort of sweeping judgement of this particular guy’s chances of ever amounting to anything we approve of. I’m not into that. Would you feel differently if it were your nephew or son or whatever?

          • Walker February 15, 2022 (7:19 pm)

            No, I would not feel differently if this person was a relative of mine. Family ties do not magically erase wrongdoing, especially when people outside the family were harmed. You would let a family member off the hook just because they’re family? How would that teach them right from wrong?

          • Jethro Marx February 16, 2022 (10:28 am)

            Walker I am afraid you have utterly misunderstood; I am interested in mercy, not sacrifices.  There’s a lot of room between “let them off the hook” and “lock them up and throw away the key.” One thing we know is that prison is not effective at reducing crime or treating addiction.  How many more years shall we keep trying it?  It’s easy to beat up on DOSA as soft on crime or whatever but talk to people in criminal justice and they will tell you it is a tool we need, and one that is effective in many cases.  It would have a much better chance of helping Mr. Depaco if we cared enough about dealing with drugs and crime to adequately fund the program, as he then would have been in treatment, rather than getting kicked back out on the streets because no beds were available.

          • Walker February 17, 2022 (5:32 am)

            Oh I’m not beating up on DOSA. I think the program should be fully funded and supported. I’m just sick of the “we can’t hold people responsible for their actions because that would be mean” mentality a lot of people seem to have. If you make bad choices, you face the consequences. I have a cousin who has been in and out of jail for years because he “just likes to have a good time”. He doesn’t want help becoming a productive member of society, so I don’t give it. Some people just don’t want to be adults and I’m completely over giving them third and fourth and fifth chances.

    • Mike February 15, 2022 (9:34 am)

      Seven (yep, 7).  

    • anonyme February 16, 2022 (12:47 pm)

      Dont y’all watch ’60 Days In’?  Drugs are easy to get in jail, perhaps easier than on the street.  No one is going to recover from a drug problem in jail. 

  • Sasquatch February 15, 2022 (7:02 am)

    Guy gets released from jail and halfway house tells him they don’t have a bed for him at the last minute. He’s fragile barely clinging to his sobriety and then the jail tells him they can’t help him. If that isn’t the definition of failure I don’t know what it is. Clearly this guy has issues and is dangerous – but the system failed him and the community.

  • anonyme February 15, 2022 (8:13 am)

    KCPAO’s excuses are just that – excuses, and lame ones at that.   A seven-time felon should not have been released into the community to – surprise! – commit another felony.  It also makes no sense that he is not being charged with gun possession, whether the gun was fully ‘constructed’ or not.  I’ve noticed a pattern of guns and domestic violence not being taken seriously by prosecutors.  Car theft – now that’s another story.  Yup, we’ve got our priorities straight.  Jort?

  • Brett February 15, 2022 (9:24 am)

    Could he also be the Halloween shooter? Put glasses and hoodie on him, just saying?

    • WSB February 15, 2022 (10:37 am)

      He was in jail from late August through early January, so no.

    • rocket February 15, 2022 (9:02 pm)

      And this is why internet crime sleuthing is incredibly dangerous.  

  • wscommuter February 15, 2022 (10:43 am)

    Folks should have a realistic, fact-based understanding of what is likely to happen with this particular knucklehead.  I don’t know what his prior felonies are, other than those couple mentioned in the story above.  But presuming (and I bet I’m right) they are low-level felonies (theft, possession of stolen property, drugs, etc.) – “C” felonies, what this means is that the current charges will result in a higher offender score which increases the potential sentencing range the judge can impose – but not to the dramatic amounts commenters here are suggesting.  He might be facing only a couple of years of prison time because that’s how the legislature has set punishment ranges (one could easily figure it out by doing the research to see what his prior offenses are and looking at the sentencing grid).  My point is, he isn’t looking at years and years of incarceration.  But he clearly does have a drug problem, which presumably is driving his idiotic criminality.   So the question one must ask – how should we deal with a drug-addicted felon with no interest, so far, in getting straight or stopping his criminal activity?  I don’t pretend to have the answer.  I hope that when he goes to prison, that he takes advantage of the drug treatment programs that do exist in our state corrections system.  But that’s his choice to make.  Otherwise, he’ll be released in a couple of years … and then what?  

    • rocket February 15, 2022 (9:06 pm)

      None of the crime and punish crowd here seem to get the link between the progression that occurs with these types of ‘criminals’.  Like that guy who was terrorizing the housing tower at Morgan Junction.  If you read through his history it was very similar to this guy and people will be shocked and confused a few years from now when the guy in this article ends up progressing to the behaviors of that guy and fail to see the link.

      • forcryingoutloud February 16, 2022 (9:08 am)

        I doubt there are many people that don’t see the link (it’s really not that hard to grasp).  Yes, that should be addressed.  But that shouldn’t mean a criminal gets to roam the streets choosing to do whatever he wants and the rest of us have to suck it up and be robbed and live with an increasing lack of safety because of his unfortunate history.  That’s where we are right now in this city and it isn’t helping anybody.

  • Vanessa February 15, 2022 (12:16 pm)

    If only he had help finishing his homework. If only he had a Grandmother to make his favorite cookies and had sleepovers.If only he had a father show up at his peewee league games, and volunteered coaching.If only his family helped him get that first car, or get his first job. If only he had learned a trade at the community college.If only, if only, if only there was enough understanding where it all starting going wrong. Does it matter now? Does he know any other kind of life? We’re so quick to judge him, want him thrown in jail and throw away the key.  Only he’ll know how this story ends and yes he has choices, but I doubt this will have a Disney ending.  I don’t have answers, I have a ton of empathy, a tremendous amount of sadness about another life just ready to be thrown away……..God help him, or whoever his higher power is. 

    • Reality Check February 15, 2022 (2:07 pm)

      I understand the point you are trying to make, Vanessa, but do you know this man and his family?  Please don’t assume that someone taking the drugs and crime path is from a family that did not support them. I have personally lived the drug part and I know quite a few people with no interest in working or doing anything constructive with their lives who come from families who did supply the cookies and first car and Little League coaching, etc.  As WSCommuter noted above, this person has a choice to make.  Getting clean isn’t easy and staying clean is even harder.  Having little or no consequences for your destructive, harmful choices doesn’t provide much of an incentive to make a change.

    • forcryingoutloud February 15, 2022 (2:18 pm)

      Is life unfair?  Yes.  Should people should feel guilty for wanting a criminal who has voluntarily and repeatedly chosen to live as a criminal to be removed from society?  No.   I am sick and tired of excuses being literally made up out of whole cloth.  You  (I assume) have no more idea whether this man had opportunities and love than anyone else.  Even if it were society’s job to fix this individual,  he is clearly unwilling to assist.  And you are darn right I am going to judge someone that has committed seven felonies.   I am going to save my empathy for someone that is making an effort to join the rest of us that follow the rules day in and day out so that we can maintain some semblance of a civilized society.

      • Ron Swanson February 15, 2022 (2:48 pm)

        Sure, and that’s why the US having by far the highest incarceration rate in the developed world has resulted in the lowest crime rate…. Wait, I’m being told it doesn’t work that way and the massive explosion in prison populations since the 1980s as part of the war on drugs has accomplished nothing at all.

        • forcryingoutloud February 15, 2022 (4:37 pm)

          Ron Swanson, if you want to give a lecture that incarceration doesn’t work, great, but the success of the US criminal justice system is not my point.   My point is that in no way should anyone feel guilty for wanting a repeat criminal to be removed from society where he/she is (clearly) free and choosing to continue these activities.  I don’t want a drugged up criminal roaming my neighborhood, stealing cars and generally being a menace – you are welcome to him. Having well-meaning people wringing their hands over the purely hypothetical lack of familial support is a big part of the reason why Seattle is mired in a gridlock of filth and crime.

          • Ron Swanson February 15, 2022 (10:39 pm)

            You could’ve just stopped at “incarceration doesn’t work”

            Ignoring the economic and social conditions that lead to people being in this condition is what got us here, not lack of incarceration.

        • forcryingoutloud February 16, 2022 (9:02 am)

          And you could’ve stopped after the first time you said something irrelevant to my comment.  But here you are again.  

        • NUMBER 6 February 16, 2022 (12:08 pm)

          Perhaps he is part of a large cadre of individuals who don’t contribute, thus creating an economic and social justification of providing additional cost increases to already overpriced, mandatory insurance products sold to Seattle home and auto owners. Companies which then have record profits to contribute to politicians who don’t GAF about anyone but themselves and who can’t abide the fact that the plebes are allowed to own anything.

      • anonyme February 16, 2022 (7:07 am)

        FCOL, I think you’ve made an excellent observation.  Criminal apologists seem to completely ignore the existence of free will and accountability, as well as the fact that most drug addicts refuse treatment – which is a choice.  Their choice.   The community should not be made to suffer for it.   I also think that the popular attitude that no one is responsible for anything, that someone or something, ‘the devil’ perhaps, ‘made them do it’ is insidious and dangerous.  There are major problems with our approach to addiction, incarceration, as well as social values and inequities.  That doesn’t change the immediate need to protect the public from predators.

  • Question February 15, 2022 (7:48 pm)

    Guessing the state photo was an older one?  I may have seen him a few weeks ago exhibiting some disturbing behavior close to where he was.  Are there any recent pictures of him, possibly much shorter hair?  Thanks.  Anyone consider he stashed the missing AR part close to his vehicle? The vehicle

    • WSB February 15, 2022 (10:55 pm)

      It was taken at some point before he was last released from state custody (different from county jail custody, which does not result in publicly available mugshots except for sex offenders) in 2020.

  • cheeseWS777 February 15, 2022 (8:09 pm)

    It seems to me that he chose to go to treetmant to get better yet couldnt go due to no beds open. But since it was part of a plea bargain the courts had to release him to the streets anyways. This is as much the systems fault then as it is his. So yes he should do time for his actions. But i think the judge, prosecutor, etc. Should do his new sentence in the same cell right along side him. It is their fault as well.

    • cheeseWS777 February 15, 2022 (10:54 pm)

      Or the manager at the rehab clinic, whichever… im just pointing out sombody messed up somewhere and now this young man had enough rope to hang himself because of it

  • cheeseWS777 February 15, 2022 (8:16 pm)

    When you google recidivism, it totaly points out that it is a problem in the usa specificly due to our incarceration rates lol.

  • Auntie February 16, 2022 (1:18 pm)

    Please note that putting him (or anyone) in jail does not necessarily keep them away from drugs. What Drugs Are Commonly Found In Prison? – Struggling With Addiction

  • Pessoa February 16, 2022 (3:12 pm)

    In the final analysis, Mr. Depaco is not a helpless marionette controlled by strings, but a 26 year old adult man who is responsible for his decision-making.  This is true in this society, as it is in any other country around the world.   With the exception of the true psychopath, all criminals can differentiate between right from wrong, and understand that their unprovoked actions hurt innocent, defenseless individual(s).  We might argue that the war on drugs has been futile, but that doesn’t  change the fact that the primary blame for crimes belongs on those who commit them.  I am sympathetic to socio-economic issues, but I’m not going to be held hostage by criminals, or badgered with emotional blackmail from defenders of criminals who seem to be more interested in basking in some perceived moral superiority.   

    • anonyme February 17, 2022 (6:27 am)

      PERFECT.  Pessoa, you’ve done it again!

  • Neighburr February 26, 2022 (6:02 am)

    This guy resembles the Halloween shooter to me

    • WSB February 26, 2022 (1:30 pm)

      As noted. previously, he was in jail at the time.

Sorry, comment time is over.