CRIME WATCH FOLLOWUP: Sentencing in Westwood Village Target standoff

(WSB photo, January 2022)

A King County Superior Court judge has sentenced 32-year-old Timothy Clemans to just over six years for trying to take hostages at Westwood Village Target in January of last year, leading to a six-hour standoff. Clemans represented himself at trial in March, and a jury found him guilty of attempted first-degree kidnapping. Court documents from Clemans’s sentencing hearing last Friday say the only person in attendance besides court personnel was the defendant’s mother. But as we noted last month, the court received a statement from a Target employee listed as a victim in this case, saying that she believes “putting … someone mentally ill in prison for 12+ months is absolutely pointless because you wouldn’t be fixing his problems, you’d just be punishing a sick man.” Prosecutors note that Clemans was found mentally competent to stand trial, and said that although alternatives to incarceration were tried in previous cases, he was uncooperative. His prior felony convictions were for harassment and third-degree assault (backstory here). His 73.5-month sentence is the top of the standard range, 61.5 months, plus a 12-month enhancement for using a deadly weapon (a knife he had taken off a shelf in the store). Judge Marshall Ferguson‘s order also includes three years of probation (“community custody”) after Clemans gets out, and a requirement that he “comply with all recommended mental-health treatment.” He gets credit for the time he already has spent behind bars since his arrest, about a year and a third.

24 Replies to "CRIME WATCH FOLLOWUP: Sentencing in Westwood Village Target standoff"

  • 1994 May 8, 2023 (10:42 pm)

    Thank you Judge Marshall Ferguson. You may have saved a person’s life for the next 5 years or so. We can only hope the voter approved levy for crisis centers is up and running when Mr Clemans is released.  He sounds like a likely candidate for crisis center usage.

  • Rhonda May 9, 2023 (2:23 am)

    I wish more County judges sentenced dangerous, repeat criminals to the maximum like this. Thank you Judge Marshall Ferguson.

    • wscommuter May 9, 2023 (9:50 am)

      Judge Ferguson sentenced this guy within the standard range.  He isn’t some heroic/tough on crime judge any more than other judges are (and this is no criticism of Judge Ferguson).  Judge Ferguson simply did the same job any other judge does.  Too many commenters on this blog do not understand that judges are constrained to sentence within a relatively narrow range of time that is mandated by the sentencing rules set out in the Sentence Reform Act, passed by the legislature more than 40 years ago.   It gets tedious when people here repeatedly complain about “low” sentences given by judges, because of the ignorant belief that judges have full discretion to do whatever they want.  By law, for every felony offense, there is a mathematical formula applied based on the seriousness of the crime (as set by the legislature) and the number of prior felony offenses.  That formula generates a narrow range where the trial judge is required to sentence the offender.  Judge have very little wiggle room.  

  • NotOnHolden May 9, 2023 (6:02 am)

    Because it’s not like the county or state don’t have the ability to do something when a mentally ill person is uncooperative and is a danger to others.

  • MyThruppence May 9, 2023 (6:27 am)

    Thank you Judge Ferguson for taking a dangerous individual, whom history shows is unable to control their own behavior, off the streets and safely away from the community. Personally I think a sanitarium would be most appropriate, but since those apparently no longer accept long term commitments, then the prison system will have to do. It’s regrettable, however this individual cannot be left to wander the streets and threaten others with bodily harm.

    • Jay May 9, 2023 (10:47 am)

      Most of the psychiatric facilities are long gone, removed by Reagan to spite Carter’s legacy of mental health advocacy. We’re living with the consequences of a petty political grudge 40 years later.

      • Chuck Jacobs May 9, 2023 (12:17 pm)

        If it’s all Reagan’s fault, why didn’t Clinton, Obama, or Biden fix it in their eighteen collective years in office?

        • CAM May 9, 2023 (10:23 pm)

          1. Please don’t use words like sanitarium. 

          2. Reagan was in office when the state inpatient facilities closed but those plans began back in the days of JFK. What Reagan did do is discontinue the funding for building up community mental health resources and local facilities at the same time as people were being discharged from long term care due to the facilities being closed/decommissioned (the latter was a good idea) and the country was simultaneously dealing with an increasing crisis of homeless and mentally ill veterans (as a result of near constant overseas combat since the turn of the century with little recognition of the impacts of combat). 

          3. It took decades/a century to build up the network of inpatient care resources/facilities prior to their closure. It will take decades to build a network of local inpatient facilities and community care options to replace the state facilities. It will also require that the funding sources for those services remain stable and are not tampered with no changes in administration or budgeting priorities. 

        • Alton May 9, 2023 (11:13 pm)

          Once the infrastructure was dismantled,  rebuilding and restaffing were impossible.  The laws were changed and in the fractured partisan political arena, no one had the power or leadership to get all sides to agree on reimplementation of those facilities.  So we have the shitty mess we have now.

        • WS Res May 10, 2023 (6:50 am)

          You can thank the legacy of Reagan, Grover Norquist, and the “I’m from the government and I’m here to help/taxation is theft” rhetoric that has dominated American politics ever since because it makes a good headline and fuels a sense of grievance and outrage.

  • Sentencing Guidelines May 9, 2023 (6:40 am)

    After good time and time served even without alternative sentencing or a DOSA, DATSA criteria he has 1/3 good time removed dropping the six year sentence to four with a year and five months credit for time served leaving him eligible for work release in 24 months. Which goes by so much quicker than ppl realize. It’s all down hill for him from here now that he has been sentenced. They can’t stop the clock on him. And two years in the joint aint 💩.He got lucky

    • CAM May 9, 2023 (10:24 pm)

      Let’s discuss that after you spend two years in prison. 

  • East Vashon May 9, 2023 (7:25 am)

    Seems odd to skip over the fact that Tim is a former SPD IT employee who was given the job after filing thousands of FOIA requests for body cam footage, who was driven out by the city work culture.This is one of several run ins with the law where he was seeking mental health assistance, this “kidnapping” was an attempt to trigger the cities crisis team so he would get a faster referral, and his “victims” said at the time they were not afraid of him.Cleman’s is petite nerdy fellow, who keeps crying for help, and they are going to put him in gen pop where he will mostly likely die.Sad indictment on our city all around, we are judged by how we treat our most vulnerable.

    • Jay May 9, 2023 (10:49 am)

      It’s like this story I read a while back where a guy robbed a bank for $1 to get incarcerated because he couldn’t afford a medical treatment. Our healthcare system is an absolute horror story and humanitarian crisis.

    • CAM May 9, 2023 (10:29 pm)

      The facts presented in the media surrounding this case indicated that the defendant had contact with mental health/crisis providers and was deemed to not require crisis support prior to these incidents. In general, just because a person says they need to be admitted to a facility does not mean they require the services that facility can provide. As to your second statement that any individual defendant/personal convicted of a crime would be housed in any particular type of housing in prison, the circumstances of their arrest, trial, and history have no influence on them being restricted from mental health placement in prison. 

  • Cogburn May 9, 2023 (10:35 am)

    I too support consequences for dangerous and violent behavior. Whether jail results in punishment or rehabilitation is questionable, but it is a clear fact that the public will be safe from the person for that amount of time. If public safety is considered important then dangerous people should pay the price, not innocent victims past or future. 

  • Alki resident May 9, 2023 (1:13 pm)

    Tim was hit by a car as a child and suffered a traumatic brain injury. For all those saying thank you to the judge and jury, remember this if your child ends up becoming a “ criminal “ and is begging for help for years. He’s already spent a year in jail for this and doesn’t deserve six more. 

    • Jim P. May 9, 2023 (3:19 pm)

      With respect, society should not be put at risk to accommodate one person’s tendency to violence however it began.An arsonist cannot hep him or her self either but you do not keep handing them fire starting material and leaving them to roam free.If help can be had, all well and good but above all society as a body needs to be kept safe.  I believe the common phrase is “The needs of the many….”

      • Alki resident May 9, 2023 (6:21 pm)

        He will not be safe in prison. He has been begging for help for years. He also was allowed to represent himself in court which never should’ve happened. The courts failed him. 

        • Ferns May 9, 2023 (11:47 pm)

          Some individuals are beyond help. We don’t like to admit that. The community needs to be safe and not literally held hostage to its most troubled individuals. I’m sorry this man had a hard life and was unable to find the help he needed prior to committing numerous crimes, it’s not fair. I can only hope the routine, supervision of prison (as poorly designed a system as it is in the US) will be stabilizing for him in some way. It will be freeing for the community to not have to deal with his repeated and escalating antisocial, described “uncooperative to alternatives to incarceration” behavior for a while. I feel for his victims. They deserve protection from him, even if imperfect. 

  • A Seattle area resident May 9, 2023 (2:18 pm)

    I’ve known Tim for almost 10 years. He’s a really smart, passionate, dedicated individual who wants to do a lot of amazing work (and he has in the past). Watching him get worse is sad. However, he’s never truly cooperated with mental health treatment. He might’ve attended therapy and groups, he might even take meds every day, and has done those things for a while, but he doesn’t get messy and do the work to fix his problems.I hope one day he decides to make a change and do the work. Because he has so much good to offer the world.I’m sure he’ll read this one day so Hi Tim!

  • momosmom May 10, 2023 (6:52 am)

    To the commenters that say they personally know “Tim” where are/was his family thru all of this, the “accident”, the help he needed back then, the supervision of medications, the  crimes he has committed? I’m not blaming them but did they give him the love and support and he refused it from them, did he choose to refuse committing himself/getting help for himself once he became an “adult”??? We can blame society but some have said “Tim” is a smart, passionate… person which makes it sound like he could help himself. 

    • yestheydid May 12, 2023 (2:23 pm)

      @momosmom Tim’s parents have been very involved, but when a grown man doesn’t want help, you can’t force him. This are Tim’s bad choices catching up with him. Granted, TBI is not something easily dealt with, but I can say without a doubt in this case, that Tim’s parents did what they could. Such a crappy and sad situation all around. But, like Jim P said above, we cannot be held hostage to his bad behavior. He most certainly is violent, I’ve seen it, and so have others. He’s not only threatening, he’s attacked people too. I hope he gets the help he needs.

    • Kate May 13, 2023 (8:22 am)

      oh, lord. You are blaming them. 

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