CRIME WATCH FOLLOWUP: Bail cut for man charged with stalking U.S. Rep. Pramila Jayapal

Most of the time, defendants are arraigned – summoned to court to enter a plea – two weeks after charges are filed. Today, 49-year-old Brett A. Forsell of Arbor Heights was arraigned and pleaded not guilty, six days after he was charged with felony stalking in relation to an incident in which he was arrested outside U.S. Rep. Pramila Jayapal‘s home. A $500,000 arrest warrant was issued when the charge was filed, and Forsell was re-arrested two days later. Today, his lawyer requested that his bail be reduced to $25,000; the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office argued against a bail reduction, but Superior Court Judge Aimee Sutton reduced the bail to $150,000. The KCPAO notes: “However, the judge granted prosecutors’ request for GPS monitoring with victim notification, alcohol monitoring, a stalking protection order and, if the defendant were to post the bail amount, electronic home monitoring.” The court documents from today’s hearing include letters from family and friends vouching for him, as well as information not available previously – that Forsell turned himself in after the charges were filed and warrant issued last week. His only criminal history, the lawyer also noted, is a DUI almost a decade ago. Forsell’s next hearing is in two weeks.

22 Replies to "CRIME WATCH FOLLOWUP: Bail cut for man charged with stalking U.S. Rep. Pramila Jayapal"

  • helpermonkey August 2, 2022 (3:52 pm)

     Unbelievable that she’d agree to reduce bail on someone clearly so bent on causing mayhem to an elected official. Judge Aimee Sutton is up for reelection in 2024. 

    • Rhonda August 2, 2022 (9:12 pm)

      Perhaps you, thousands of others, and Rep. Jayapal herself are getting a taste of the frustration we in law enforcement and crime victims feel when irresponsible judges like this let dangerous suspects out on low (or no) bail?

      • Neighbor August 2, 2022 (9:46 pm)

        This us-vs-you language does nothing to build trust in the community you are meant to serve.  I am frustrated that those who are charged with protecting us think we need to “get a taste”.  Your post reads like a threat.

        • Rhonda August 3, 2022 (1:58 am)

          “Us-vs-you”? I included everyone in my comment. Anyone would be hard-pressed to find someone who isn’t disgusted by judges who refuse to protect the public from dangerous criminals. This affects all Washingtonians.

        • momosmom August 3, 2022 (6:35 am)

          No, no threat I read it as the truth and it sounds like your thinking is a part of the problem

        • Frustrated August 3, 2022 (6:41 am)

          Letting people who are a danger to the community  out with low bail or no bail IS a threat… To all of us. People have died because of those decisions (literally).

  • Melissa August 2, 2022 (5:58 pm)

    I would really appreciate – and my guess is that other community members would, as well – understanding what the judge’s legal reasoning was. Can any lawyers or other legal personnel out there explain? Thank you.

    • Chrissy D August 2, 2022 (10:28 pm)

      Agreed, can the judge explain this reasoning considering the intent? Who cares that there’s no previous criminal history, all it takes is one time, thus is a bs wild card move. 

  • flimflam August 2, 2022 (6:18 pm)

    It’s almost as if these judges are looking for ways to give every criminal the benefit of the doubt for some reason.

  • Seriously what August 2, 2022 (6:54 pm)

    We don’t know all the facts, the alleged perpetrator didn’t really do anything worse in a given day than what’s been allowed to occur city wide in the last 4 years. He physically didn’t assault, steal or cause anguish to the ill performing official. Wish the judges would actually prosecute the many more offenses that us daily users of the city are made to confront.

    • Ron M August 2, 2022 (7:29 pm)

      You’re right, all he did was repeatedly drive by Pramila’s home, scream that she should “go back to India” and that he wanted to kill her, then stand in the middle of the street in front of her home armed with a handgun. Then while he was in police custody admit that he would continue this behavior until Pramila “went back to India”, then told police he plans to purchase an AR15. Seriously, what?

      • Chrissy D August 2, 2022 (10:31 pm)

        Nice recap. Don’t think the judge got this information before the decision was made.

      • Grammar Panda August 3, 2022 (3:23 am)

        Right, so some mean words and being scary. 

    • miws August 3, 2022 (10:02 am)

      Seriously What,  “Ill-performing official”? So, because you don’t like Rep. Jayapal, (or, at least the way she performs her job), it’s okay? I agree with Ron M.’s points, plus, you don’t think this “cause(d) anguish” for Rep. Jayapal? How do you know that? You don’t think a situation like this likely would cause her anguish? Especially after what she went through during the domestic terrorist attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021?  Did you not see video/photos of her and other electeds cowering down, putting on gas masks?  I know that would make me extra concerned over someone driving past my home making deadly, racist threats. But, I reside on Earth One. I guess you reside on Earth Two… —Mike

  • 1994 August 2, 2022 (9:49 pm)

    Can he vote while in jail? He can express his wishes by voting for another person or even writing his own name on the ballot as a write in candidate instead of voting for Pramila….but I see she is running above 80% on the returns so far. Yah!

  • DemandCurve August 3, 2022 (12:00 am)

    Basically what I’m saying is he will be up for prosecution in a federal court for terrorist threats against a federal official and that’s a whole different world from Seattle street crime prosecutions, he’s going to pay so so dearly for this.

    • ? August 4, 2022 (4:29 pm)

      How are you so sure about that? Where did you get your information from? 

  • Leslie August 3, 2022 (12:20 am)

    After graduation law school the “Honorable” Aimee Sutton formerly worked for Society of Counsel Representing Accused Persons (SCRAP??).  In 2011, she opened her own private practice specializing in criminal defense matters. I’m not criticizing her for representing criminals and “accused persons.” Of course, they have a right to an attorney. I’m just wondering about her possible bias in this case. I’ll try to remember not to vote for her in 2024.

    • momosmom August 3, 2022 (7:03 am)

       I wonder if “he” Brett Forsell realizes stalking and threatening US Rep Jayapal just before an election just put her in the win seat?…think Jackass who really won?! 

    • anonyme August 3, 2022 (9:19 am)

      The problem is that we seldom have a choice, given the fact that most judges run unopposed. If this guy is going to be out on the street again, I sure would like to know what he looks like.

  • Samuella Samaniego August 3, 2022 (11:12 am)

    The threats he has made verbally, including showing up at Representative Jayapal’s home, are indefensible. Being stalked by someone or more than a few is its very own special kind of hell because there is no end to one’s worry and concern.

  • Former WS resident August 4, 2022 (7:35 am)

    Bail isn’t intended to be the punishment…bail is to give some level of confidence that this person will come to court. He hasn’t been found guilty yet (no matter how clear the evidence seems). The reasons someone might go with something shorter than the highest bail:1) Connection to the community.2) First offense of this nature.3) He had already been released (the prosecutor’s office decided they weren’t ready to indict him and needed to gather more evidence), and hadn’t gone anywhere nor had done anything dangerous in the meantime.4) He turned himself in when the new arrest warrant came out.All things considered, this person is likely to show for the trial. Keep in mind that the defense asked for bail to be $25,000, the prosecutors asked for $500,000. $150,000 is a pretty reasonable number. Judge Sutton isn’t out of line. Pretty balanced. For those who will watch the trial, getting ready to evaluate the judge for sentencing (if he’s found guilty), it looks like the sentencing guidelines will be 6m-12m. I’m not sure how this case compares to other Felony Stalking cases, for where it would appear on that scale. I’m also not sure how him having a gun at the time relates. Personally, I would definitely feel apprehensive about him having a gun in his possession at the time, but I’m not sure the law views this as an implicit threat. Since he never made an overt threat (that I’ve heard) and it never came out of his holster, it may not have a huge impact on the trial. That seems weird for those of us who don’t like guns, but I’m not sure there’s a way around that. If you don’t like how this case is being handled, talk to your legislator about changing State Law. The judge is just following it.

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