Rantz: Judge Marcus Naylor released homeless suspect in dog murder, who just skipped hearing, is at-large
Courtney Jamar Williams is a homeless man accused of murdering a precious, 14-year-old Jack Russell Terrier named Alice. But Williams got lucky: He was assigned King County Superior Court Judge Marcus Naylor.
Against the reasonable request of a King County Prosecutor who asked the court to hold Williams on $25,000 bail, Williams was released on his own personal recognizance.
The judge apparently thought the monster accused of kicking a senior dog to death, while trying to rob the dog’s 67-year-old owner, could be trusted to return to court for future hearings. Naylor, it seems, doesn’t think Williams posed a reasonable threat to the public.
Williams didn’t return to court to hear the animal cruelty charges on June 3. He’s now at large and the public must hope a depleted police force will be able to find him quickly.
Judge Marcus Naylor released the accused dog killer
Over the Memorial Day weekend, 29-year-old Williams allegedly tried to rob John Hickey of his jacket.
The victim was walking Alice near the large and dangerous homeless encampment near Courthouse Park. Police documents say Williams lives in the encampment.
Police allege Williams aggressively approached Hickey before the theft attempt. Hickey, thinking he was under threat of imminent danger, pulled out pepper spray to defend himself. Williams retreated, but moments later, he allegedly came running back for payback.
“I heard pounding of feet, and I turned around, and he was running full speed at us, and I didn’t have time to really do anything. I had [Alice] on the leash, and he came running towards her, knocked me down, and he kicked her so hard that she went up in the air and started hemorrhaging,” Hickey told Q13 FOX.
When Alice landed and hit the concrete, she started hemorrhaging. She died in Hickey’s arms.
“She thought everybody liked her, and she was just proud of that. And the most horrible thing, when she died, she gave me a look … just was like she was confused that anyone would do something like that to her,” Hickey said.
Judge Marcus Naylor goes easy on dog murder suspect
At Williams’ first appearance on Monday, before charges were officially filed, the prosecutor argued that he was a danger to the community, noting the attack was unprovoked. The prosecutor asked the judge to find probable cause for felony animal cruelty.
The police incident report even noted that Williams had had multiple run-ins with police in recent months. He’s exhibited “aggressive, assaultive behavior,” according to the document.
Naylor was unmoved. He only found probable cause for second-degree animal cruelty, which is a gross misdemeanor. He released Williams without bail.
Judge Marcus Naylor is incompetent
Given the suspect was accused of a violent, unprovoked attack against a vulnerable senior citizen and warnings from police that he has a history, it would have been reasonable to assume he’s not responsible or decent enough to return to a future court hearing. He is homeless, after all, and prosecutors said he has no known address.
On June 3, the prosecutors formally charged Williams with first-degree animal cruelty, one of the most serious animal cruelty charges that you can file in the state.
A different judge found probable cause for the felony and approved the $25,000 bail request.
But, according to a spokesperson with the Prosecutor’s Office: “Mr. Williams, who was released on his personal recognizance by a separate judge at his first appearance, did not return to court for his second appearance this afternoon.”
Anyone could have predicted this, especially Naylor.
Judge Marcus Naylor gets weak defense
King County District Court Chief Presiding Judge Susan Mahoney is defending Naylor, who is precluded from commenting on an open case.
Upon request, Mahoney gave some perspective to the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH.
“[I]n all cases involving crimes that are not subject to the death penalty, the presumption is that the suspect must be released upon their promise to appear at a future hearing,” Mahoney wrote. “For a judge to impose more restrictive conditions, state law and Washington State Supreme Court rules require that there be demonstrable facts that meet very specific and limited reasons for holding a person.”
She notes that Williams hadn’t been officially charged yet and that Naylor, like any judge, “must make a decision based on the facts presented in a short narrative and based on the available information unique to the alleged circumstances of a particular case.”
Mahoney also says that Williams had no known criminal history or a history of ditching court hearings.
This defense is weak.
The facts are clear and Judge Marcus Naylor owes the public some answers
Mahoney encouraged me to read the rule concerning bail. I did.
The presumption of release is moot if the prosecution shows there is “a likely danger that the accused: (a) will commit a violent crime.” The SPD clearly warned that Williams has a history of violent tendencies. And someone who is willing to murder a dog and try to rob an elderly man is a threat to the public.
The facts were clear and nothing of substance changed between Naylor releasing the monster and the new judge finding probable cause for a felony.
“I am confident that every judge in King County District Court strives to do their best to make fair and impartial decisions and to uphold the rule of law, even in difficult cases,” she said.
Well, I’m not confident in that. Why? Because of Judge Marcus Naylor’s decision here. He owes the public some answers.
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