CRIME WATCH FOLLOWUP: Man accused of fleeing stolen vehicle found in greenbelt had just been sentenced days earlier

One day after a man was arrested in the West Duwamish Greenbelt after allegedly bolting from a stolen vehicle driven into the forest (WSB coverage here), his bail was set at $50,000. The King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office had asked for $75,000, but says District Court Judge Gregg Hirakawa went for a lower amount. We’ve been looking at the record of the suspect, 26-year-old Joseph Depaco, who we’re identifying as he is charged/convicted in other cases. He was just sentenced less than a week ago in a plea bargain involving gun possession, domestic violence, and burglary cases, all outside West Seattle. The sentence given to him on February 4th was credit for four months he’d spent in jail plus up to six months of residential drug treatment as a DOSA (Drug Offender Sentencing Alternative). Court documents from the plea bargain show Depaco’s conviction history – three 2017 felony convictions related to stolen cars, and three 2018 felony convictions including stolen property, a stolen vehicle, and drugs. The documents from last week’s sentencing do not indicate when he was supposed to report for the treatment. Tonight, he remains in jail while the KCPAO awaits additional police information so a charging decision can be made in the Highland Park case. Depaco’s last known address is listed on police reports as in South Park.

27 Replies to "CRIME WATCH FOLLOWUP: Man accused of fleeing stolen vehicle found in greenbelt had just been sentenced days earlier"

  • B February 10, 2022 (9:25 pm)

    Whatever happened to three strikes laws? People like this should be in jail permanently, we shouldn’t let people have the opportunity to commit six felonies.

    • WSB February 10, 2022 (11:35 pm)

      None of these were “strike” felonies.

    • Neighbor February 11, 2022 (2:17 pm)

      Why do you think baseball rules are applicable to criminals?

      • EJ February 13, 2022 (6:27 pm)

        Because in 1993 Washington residents were fed up with repeat offenders and passed the “Three Strikes” law. But as was pointed out, these offenses don’t qualify–more and more offenses are being removed from the “strike offense” list.

  • StopCuttingDownTrees February 10, 2022 (9:42 pm)

    No multiple-conviction felon should ever receive a DOSA alternative sentence. He should have been in jail those 6 months, especially since his DOSA “treatment” didn’t work.

    • WSB February 10, 2022 (11:32 pm)

      The DOSA sentencing was less than a week ago. He apparently hadn’t entered a program yet. I’m going to try to find out more about that tomorrow; the last person we covered who got a DOSA sentence was supposed to enter immediately.

    • Marty February 11, 2022 (9:54 am)

      The safety of responsible citizens is important. Multiple conviction people like this need to be locked up to protect the general population.

  • What’s going on? February 10, 2022 (11:40 pm)

    What the hells going on, lock these people up for good. Enough is enough.

  • WS Guy February 11, 2022 (2:13 am)

    There’s nothing left to say at this point.

  • flimflam February 11, 2022 (5:45 am)

    These cute little programs aren’t working. I’m sure they help the people that champion them feel good but the public at large suffer the consequences.

    • Derek February 11, 2022 (10:31 am)

      Jail doesn’t work either. Hasn’t for centuries. 

      • Jeepney February 11, 2022 (10:53 am)

        Hi Derek,Please explain what you mean.  The way I see it, if this individual had been in jail, he would have been unable to commit the crimes he is accused of.

      • Barton February 11, 2022 (11:40 am)

        It works for keeping repeat criminals off the street.  I’m not prepared to say none of the programs work or that they should be discarded but jail is about justice for victims as well as rehabilitation.

      • John Q Lincoln February 11, 2022 (2:11 pm)

        Doesn’t work for who?  Works for the community by keeping the criminal away from society.  Many crimes go uncommitted by keeping criminals in jail.  Individual responsibility can’t be ignored forever. 

      • Walker February 11, 2022 (8:08 pm)

        Jail would have prevented felonies two through six for this guy.

  • anonyme February 11, 2022 (6:22 am)

    Two things are clear: DOSA is a waste of time and taxpayer dollars, and gun possession and domestic violence (ever a lethal combination) are not treated seriously by the courts.

  • Jeepney February 11, 2022 (7:30 am)

    This exemplifies why we need more mature leadership in our local government.  We made positive strides last November, and we need to continue to vote in leaders who care about the safety of our city and ALL of it’s citizens.

  • WW Resident February 11, 2022 (7:38 am)

    Yet another WSB article DOSA success story. Quick another gun law…… Or we can start actually enforcing the ones on the books instead of these slaps on the wrist

    • WS Res February 11, 2022 (12:01 pm)

      The person hasn’t actually entered DOSA yet:  “The sentence given to him on February 4th was credit for four months he’d spent in jail plus up to six months of residential drug treatment as a DOSA” –  Or do you think that treatment should be done already?

  • shotinthefoot February 11, 2022 (9:07 am)

    I am beginning to suspect that DOSA isn’t a very effective punishment alternative. 

  • Wseattleite February 11, 2022 (10:00 am)

    I applaud the police for their re-capture efforts and protecting the public from an obvious potent threat.  How discouraging it must be to have such good work followed up by having to do it all over again.  Over and over……….and over.

  • snowskier February 11, 2022 (12:35 pm)

    Sounds like this guy just lost his chance at DOSA.  I understand giving people a chance at DOSA on their first offense but this guy sounds likes a hardened criminal.  Some can be rehabilitated, some cannot but the job of the jail is to protect the rest of us from the bad guys while they figure that out.  How many more people does he need to victimize?  How about the person he domestically abused with a gun present?  Aren’t our rights equal to or more important than his?

  • Balderdash February 11, 2022 (12:35 pm)

    Jail removes a domestic violence threat, a burglary threat and a gun using felon threat.  He had a bulletproof vest so I can just imagine what his next foray out into ‘polite society’ would be.  Jail works to stop people from continuing to do what their ‘business’ is:  causing problems for us all.

  • Calires February 11, 2022 (3:46 pm)

    I’m certainly not claiming that DOSA is the right option for a repeat offender where violence is involved and I also get tired of reading about the DOSA failures and no-shows here, however I’m guessing that most diversion programs are like airline flights in that you only hear about the ones that fail.  I’d be curious to know what the recidivism rate is for DOSA participants and what the support systems are for people who make it through the program.  Hopefully, they aren’t just given a sheet with a list of AA/NA meetings and sent on their way.  The eligibility requirements are here.

    • WSB February 11, 2022 (4:12 pm)

      I’d be happy to write about someone for whom it succeeded; unfortunately, the nature of our work is indeed generally not going to surface that, as we are looking at criminal cases. Here’s the recidivism rates and other stats, from the state. 52 percent for residential, 58 percent for prison-based.

      • rocket February 12, 2022 (2:49 am)

        Thank you for sharing this statistically significant data that clearly shows that DOSA is worth the effort.  I really appreciate how also the link provided mentions that a flaw in the study was that it did not look at recidivism rates for drug offenders who got prison only and no treatment (I imagine it would be even higher, but of course would make no assumptions).  Very small sample but I have a friend who years ago got caught with psilocybin and was offered drug court over jail.  Not only did it not wasted tons of money on jailing him it allowed him to rethink where he was going with his life and, while he was not exactly on the highway to hell before really affected his ark by assisting him with learning to cope with existence without relying on substances.  Its very easy to say “lock em up” but it benefits all of us to consider that maybe our personal knee jerks arent always the best answer.  You can stay entrenched all you what but the data speaks for itself if you arent sure which side of the discipline and punish fence to be on.

  • Audifans February 12, 2022 (7:58 am)

    One of the reasons that a lot of us have ‘knee jerk reactions’ (as you say), is the constant drumbeat of cat’s being stolen, robberies, assaults, guns being pulled on citizens and cars being stolen (every single day).  I don’t have any problem with having treatment for the druggies, etc. But a lot of us are just wore out here on the island with violent assaults  or just regular thievery problems getting worse (thank you wsb for reporting everything).  I would like a multifaceted approach to all this but at this point I would say the system, the citizenry and businesses are just overwhelmed with all the criminal activity. When you get overwhelmed you reach for something to slow them down and often that is jail. Might not be the best, but for a bunch of these hoodlums, jail means we might not be waking up in the morning with no car, the house burglarized, the business not trashed, or a loved one not assaulted.

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