5:47 PM: The man arrested July 9th outside the Arbor Heights home of U.S. Rep. Pramila Jayapal is now charged with felony stalking. The King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office filed the charge today against 48-year-old Brett A. Forsell, who also lives in Arbor Heights. He was released from jail four days after his arrest because he hadn’t yet been charged, but as prosecutors said at the time, that didn’t mean he wouldn’t ever be charged. And now, he is. A KCPAO spokesperson says, “Additional evidence was gathered by police investigators and referred to prosecutors prior to this charging decision. As part of the felony charge, we note that the defendant was armed with a deadly weapon and that the victim was stalked in connection with her elected position.” That night, he was found with a holstered .40-caliber Glock handgun; the charging documents say nearby security-video cameras recorded him yelling vulgarities and suggesting Jayapal should kill herself. Today, prosecutors argued for a $500,000 warrant, and a judge agreed, though the county jail roster does not currently show Forsell in custody. The KCPAO says the Extreme Risk Protection Order to keep him from possessing guns – for which a hearing was scheduled yesterday but was postponed – remains in effect. The charging documents say in part:
After the defendant was arrested, and while still in police custody, he continued to mark remarks picked up by the police audio and video recording. Those remarks demonstrate that he is focused on getting his Glock .40 caliber semiautomatic handgun back as quickly as possible and that he also plans to obtain an AR-15 semi-automatic assault rifle. He also stated that that he intends to continue his pattern of returning to Representative Jayapal’s house until, in his words, she “goes back to India.”
The documents also say Forsell told FBI agents that in the week and a half before the July 9th incident, he had driven past Jayapal’s home three to seven times as a “protest” of Jayapal and her politics. Also noted, an email she received from him in January, described as not threatening but expressing dislike of her politics, and other possible incidents as far back as April. Forsell is scheduled to be arraigned – to enter a plea to the charge – on August 10th.
ADDED 8:05 PM: Rep. Jayapal’s office sent this statement from her:
The news today from the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s office that they have charged Mr. Forsell with felony stalking demonstrates that the justice system is doing its work. I am grateful to the King County Prosecutor’s Office for holding this man accountable for his dangerous actions, to the victim’s advocate for her assistance throughout the process, and to the Seattle Police Department, U.S. Capitol Police, and the House Sergeant at Arms for continuing to keep my family, me, and my staff safe. Now, the Prosecutor’s Office and the courts will do their important work to protect all of us.
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