Dori: Revolving door of justice now partially responsible for a death

Sep 18, 2019, 2:06 PM | Updated: 2:29 pm
westlake, shooter, seattle, revolving door...
The suspect in a shooting at Seattle's Westlake transit station, as seen on security camera video. (Seattle Police Department / KIRO 7 TV)
(Seattle Police Department / KIRO 7 TV)

We now know that in part thanks to the revolving door of justice around here, a 21-year-old young man is dead.

I have said for months that our catch-and-release system of prosecution would one day result in the murder of another human being by one of these prolific offenders. You cannot keep playing “Human Roulette” by letting these dangerous repeat criminals back on the streets.

So it’s shocking that a guy who had already committed two felonies in 2019 — a year we’re only 8-and-a-half months into — was out and about in the community, able to go shoot three people at Westlake Station Friday evening.

Now the main culprit in the shooting of course is the suspect, not the revolving door. But, that 21-year-old victim would be alive and that 20-year-old suspect would be locked up for those felonies, unable to hurt others, if we had any sort of justice system.

Dori: Repeat offender tries to stab woman with pitchfork at Ballard Post Office

We are not naming the 20-year-old suspect because he has not yet been charged, but I do know a fair amount about his background.

One year ago — in September of 2018 — he stole purses from women while they were sitting outside an apartment in Bellevue. He was also found guilty of breaking into a rental car agency in Redmond and stealing a car, and had been previously arrested for theft and marijuana possession as a minor, according to Patch.

In January of this year, he robbed a 14-year-old boy of a phone and Bluetooth speaker after threatening to shoot the boy if he did not hand the items over. He was arrested for second-degree robbery, which is a felony — but this got brought down to a gross misdemeanor, fourth-degree assault, in a plea deal.

Think about that. Robbery, according to state law, suggests either a weapon or a threat to cause harm. In this case, the perpetrator was threatening to shoot a child. And the prosecutor pleaded that down to a misdemeanor.

What was his sentence? It was time served — he had already spent 100 days in jail waiting for his trial. They suspended his one-year sentence. Oh, and he got a three-for-one deal, because the time served also counted for the rental car break-in and purse snatching.

Is that somebody who should have been walking around free — someone with multiple felonies already this year?

Again, I have to ask the question. Do the people in the prosecutor’s office feel any responsibility, any guilt, any shame, that a 21-year-old is dead? Do they think about the fact that, if not for their decision, the suspect might have still been in jail and unable to shoot anyone at Westlake Station? We cannot arrest anybody, and when we do we cannot keep them locked up, because prison is wrong.

Then on Saturday, a father and son were riding the light rail to the Husky game when a guy leaned up against the dad and stabbed the dad in the chest. Thank goodness the dad will be okay. But do you know what the alleged stabber has been charged with? It was the same charge that they had pleaded down the Westlake shooter to after the robbery of the 14-year-old — fourth-degree assault. That is a misdemeanor.

Can anyone explain that? You randomly stab a stranger in the chest, and the prosecutor pleads it down to a misdemeanor. Now that stabber will likely be walking the streets free one of these days. He may be the next revolving door offender to cause a death. That’s what we do — we catch, we release, we wait until they kill. Then if they kill, we might give them a slap on the wrist. But for anything short of that, we let them go.

It’s shameful when your only job is to keep the public safe, and you fail that miserably. There is blood on the hands of our weak prosecutor’s office team in King County.

One other note — people with felonies are not supposed to have a gun, according to the law. Could it be that maybe gun control does not stop criminals?

More on recent “revolving door” cases:

Attacker who fractured El Corazon singer’s skull released after 10 days

Westlake Park knife attack latest catch-and-release case

Attacker behind rush-hour rampage already out of jail

White Center rape survivor: Politicians responsible for latest assault

Man who attacked 91-year-old on Market Street part of city’s ‘Human Roulette’

Prolific offender arrested 105 times in 14 years keeps being released

Prolific offender to be released early for brutal Kirkland hate crime

Listen to the Dori Monson Show weekday afternoons from 12-3 p.m. on KIRO Radio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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Dori: Revolving door of justice now partially responsible for a death