Theft suspect could face charge related to SPD officer’s death
The man suspected of stealing a Seattle police officer’s car is facing charges directly related to her death last week on I-5, as the memorial at the West precinct continues to grow.
The man suspected of stealing a Seattle police officer’s vehicle moments after she was struck and killed, is now facing a charge of hit-and-run resulting in a fatality.
This, despite the fact that another driver actually hit the officer.
But the suspect allegedly caused the accident where she was ultimately killed. And he fled the scene.
Roger Lee Owens Jr. was a no-show at his bail hearing.
But the 49-year-old is no stranger to court proceedings. Prosecutors say he has had 16 warrants since 1996.
In the case of Seattle police officer Lexi Harris, Owens is accused of stealing her personal vehicle moments after another driver struck and killed her last Sunday on I-5.
Harris had stopped to help Washington State troopers deal with a multi-vehicle accident.
“Hit-and-run fatality, one count of theft of a motor vehicle,” said Kyle Olson, deputy King County prosecutor, as he read a litany of allegations against Owens. “One count of possession of a firearm in the first degree and one count of possession of stolen property in the second degree.”
The last two allegations relate to the fact that Owens had Harris’s service weapon and her uniform when he was arrested.
But it was the allegation of hit-and-run fatality that raised questions for Judge Laurel Gibson.
“What is the nexus,” asked Judge Gibson, “between the vehicle that Mr. Owens was driving and that fatality of the victim.”
Olson explained it was Owens, driving a stolen U-Haul vehicle, who caused the initial accident.
“It’s at that point, after having driven that U-Haul that was part of that accident, the defendant fled the scene,” said Olson. “The crime here is fleeing from the accident.”
This comes as the memorial for Harris continued to grow at the West Precinct. The five-year-veteran was off duty when she stopped to help last Sunday. Her heroism was compared to her own heroine, Wonder Woman.
Ultimately, the judge agreed with the prosecutor and set Owens’ bail at $250,000 for the Harris case.
She set bail at another $75,000 for a second case involving illegal possession of a firearm.
The King County prosecutor has until Tuesday to decide whether to file charges.
Written by KIRO 7 TV reporter Deborah Horne