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Prosecuting Attorney's Office

Daniel T. Satterberg

King County Prosecuting Attorney's Office
King County Courthouse, Room W554
516 Third Avenue
Seattle, WA 98104-2362
(206) 296-9000

 

King County Prosecuting Attorney

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Daily Docket Updated:  4:35  p.m.  July 25

Sentencing in 1980 Cold Case Homicide: Convicted sex offender Michael Allan Halgren, 58, was sentenced this afternoon to a minimum of 14 ½ years up to a maximum of life in prison for the murder of a 19-year-old woman in Bellevue 34 years ago. Halgren pled guilty last month to a charge of Murder in the Second Degree. DNA evidence linked the defendant to the murder of Susan Barbara Lowe, who was found strangled in her apartment in 1980.  Halgren, who has been in custody since 2002 after being civilly committed as a sexually violent predator, was charged in 2013 with Lowe’s murder.  Although a crime from 1980 falls under the state’s prior indeterminate sentencing system, the state’s Indeterminate Sentence Review Board has the option of keeping Halgren incarcerated up to life. If the defendant is ever granted parole, he would be returned to the Special Commitment Center. The case was handled by Senior DPA Kristin Richardson and DPA Leah Taguba. The case was investigated by Detective Jerry Johnson of the Bellevue Police Department. Today’s sentencing was before Judge Roger Rogoff at the King County Courthouse.

Sentencing in Wine Theft: Two defendants were sentenced to prison this afternoon for the theft of up to $650,000 worth of wine from a wine retailer/wine storage facility in Seattle’s Sodo neighborhood. Samuel Arby Harris, 35, was sentenced to nine years in prison and co-defendant Luke A. Thesing, 36, received a sentence of five years. Harris pled guilty last week to Attempted Arson in the First Degree, Burglary in the Second Degree and ten counts of Theft in the First Degree. Thesing pled guilty to Burglary in the Second Degree and nine counts of Theft in the First Degree. Harris faced a sentence range of up to nine years and Thesing’s range was up to 5 ½ years. Prosecutors recommended a top of the range sentence for both. The wine was stolen from wine storage lockers at Esquin Wine & Spirits in November 2013. The defendants also cut gas lines in an attempt to start a fire at the facility. The wine has since been recovered. Harris also pled guilty to theft in a separate incident where he stole $250,000 worth of wine from a woman in Bellevue in May 2013. The victim met Harris through relatives and hired him to build a wine-storage cellar at her Bellevue business. Harris sold many of the wines in the Bellevue theft. The case was handled by Senior DPA Alex Voorhees and DPA Peter Lewicki. Today’s sentencing was before Judge Julie Spector at the King County Courthouse.

July 24:

Seattle Man Charged in Deaths of Mother, Stepfather: Seattle man was charged yesterday with two counts of Murder in the First Degree for the murders of his mother and stepfather on July 19 in Seattle’s South Park neighborhood. The defendant, Richard Leo Parenteau, Jr, 45, is being held in the King County Jail with bail set at $5 million. The defendant is accused in the bludgeoning deaths of his mother Linda Parenteau and stepfather David Wells. Arraignment is scheduled for August 6 at 8:30 a.m. in courtroom 1201 of the King County Courthouse.

Burien Man Charged in Murder of Ex-Wife: A charge of Murder in the Second Degree was filed yesterday against a 41-year-old Burien man who is accused of killing his ex-wife on July 20 in Kent. The defendant, Telesforo Hernandez-Roa, remains in jail with bail set at $2 million. The defendant is accused in the murder of Ruth Castillo-Yanez, who died from multiple stab wounds. Arraignment is scheduled for August 4 at 9 a.m. in courtroom GA at the Maleng Regional Justice Center.

July 22:

Arraignment in Kirkland Homicide:
Arraignment was held this morning for Burrell Michael Cushman, 28, who is accused of the murder of Amy Hargrove.  The defendant is the former boyfriend of Hargrove, who was found murdered in her Kirkland home in January. Cushman entered a not guilty plea to the charge of Murder in the Second Degree. He remains in the King County Jail with bail set at $1.5 million. A case setting hearing is scheduled for August 5 at 1 p.m. in courtroom 1201 at the King County Courthouse.

July 21:

Charges Filed in Fatal Boat Collision: A 46-year-old Renton man was charged this afternoon in connection with a fatal boat collision last Wednesday night on Lake Washington. The defendant, Richard Anthony Hicks, is charged with one count of Homicide by Watercraft and one count of Assault by Watercraft. He remains in jail with bail set at $250,000.  The suspect is accused of piloting a motorboat that collided with a sailboat. A passenger on the sailboat, Melissa Protz, 33, died in the collision and two other passengers on the sailboat were injured. Arraignment is scheduled for August 4 at 8:30 a.m. in courtroom 1201 of the King County Courthouse.


Identity Theft Task Force Getting Results

In 2009, the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office (PAO) created an identity theft prosecutor position with funds from the state legislature.  The position was part of a financial fraud task force in King and Pierce Counties that funds a detective, crime analyst and part-time prosecutor.  Banks fund the task force through a tax on the UCC (Uniformed Commercial Code) filings.  In 2011, the PAO added to the effort by funding the prosecutor full time and putting Deputy Prosecuting Attorney (DPA) Peter Lewicki in the position.  The task force's success has been stunning.  

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In 2013, the task force prosecuted 87 defendants who committed a staggering 599 felonies.  Lewicki recently obtained a sentence of 66 months for Tri Tran who amassed the personal and financial information that had been taken in burglaries, mail thefts and car prowls.  Tran purchased the information from the thieves and used it to create fake credit cards or credit accounts under victims’ names.  He also obtained a combined sentence of over 70 months for Geraldine Langaman who was a previously convicted identity thief who was caught again with over 50 victims’ personal information.  Langaman admitted to knowing how to create false driver’s licenses, then selling the information she had collected and created to other criminals seeking to commit fraud.

 

 

ID Theft Task Force members (L-R) DPA Peter Lewicki, Pierce Co. Sheriff’s Deputy Glenda Nissan, Redmond PD Lt. Tim Gately, Crime Analyst Nicole Perry, BECU’s Mitch Mondala, U.S. Bank’s Susan Ross, and Redmond PD Commander Thom Conroy.

The financial fraud task force is unique and includes members from banks, local law enforcement, county prosecutors, federal agents, the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the State Attorney General’s Office.  The task force concentrates its resources on the worst offenders, recognizing that eliminating the most prolific thieves has the greatest impact on the community. 

In 2013, identity theft was the number one reported crime in the nation.  Washington state has taken an aggressive stand against identity theft.  According to the FTC, our state has dropped from 15th in the nation to 23rd in identity theft complaints since 2009.  For information on how to avoid becoming a victim of identity theft, go to the attached link.

PAO’s Elder Abuse Prosecutors Receive National Recognition

The moral test of government is how it treats those who are in the dawn of life—the children; those who are in the twilight of life—the aged; and those in the shadows of life—the sick, the needy, and the handicapped.

                        --Hubert H. Humphrey

In 2001, the PAO launched its Elder Abuse Project by assigning a DPA to focus exclusively in the prosecution of defendants who target the elderly.  By 2010, the work expanded to include two senior attorneys.  Senior DPA Page Ulrey was the first prosecutor assigned to prosecute elder abuse and Senior DPA Kristin Richardson joined her this year, taking over for Senior DPA Kathy Van Olst who now manages the office’s Special Assault Unit located at the Norm Maleng Regional Justice Center.

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Senior DPAs Kristin Richardson and Page Ulrey prosecute elder abuse cases.


A 13-year veteran of elder abuse prosecution, Page Ulrey is considered a national expert on elder abuse.  She trains other prosecutors across the nation on how to investigate and prosecute elder crimes.  She has also published several articles on elder abuse and our justice system.  Ulrey also oversees the elder abuse council, the state-wide elder abuse conference and the care facility/law enforcement task force.  She helped create the criminal mistreatment review panel, elder fatality review team and the financial abuse team.  Kristin Richardson has been a prosecutor for 25 years and a member of the PAO’s homicide unit for over 13 years.  Richardson has been an adjunct professor at the Seattle University School of Law and an instructor for the National District Attorneys Association.  Both have dedicated their careers to the most vulnerable victims in our society.

The number of people age 65 and older will double from 40 million in the year 2000 to 88 million in the year 2030.  Along with it comes an increase in their abuse and exploitation.  The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services/National Center on Elder Abuse defines elder abuse as “any knowing, intentional, or negligent act by a caregiver or any other person that causes harm or a serious risk of harm to a vulnerable adult.”  It typically includes physical abuse, financial exploitation, neglect and abandonment. 

One example of the work that the elder abuse unit does is the case brought against Lisa O’Neill.  O’Neill met Leonard Swenson in August 2006 after his wife of 34 years suddenly died and he had received a modest insurance settlement.  Leonard was developmentally disabled, had a stroke, and his wife had always taken care of their finances.  After O’Neill met Leonard, she had him moved into her basement within three weeks and took over his finances shortly thereafter.  O’Neill defaulted on his mortgage payments, car payments, and siphoned his bank account.  She isolated him from his family and terrorized him with physical and emotional abuse.  The elder abuse prosecutors were able to convict O’Neill of 14 counts of felony theft and send her to prison for 62 months.  Elder financial exploitation cases are often complex, involving such issues as cognitive capacity, consent, competency, powers of attorney, guardianships, undue influence and dementia.  Few law enforcement officers receive training on any of these subjects.  Having specialists in the PAO ensures that our community is ready to respond to this complex and increasingly common crime.

Prosecution Team Dedicated to Fighting Mortgage Fraud

The PAO has a team of three people dedicated to fighting mortgage fraud, consisting of two attorneys and one investigator.  Senior DPA Jennifer Atchison, DPA Hugo Torres and Investigator Linda Williamson make up this fraud fighting trio.  Because the team has their own investigator they are able to initiate their own criminal inquiries. 

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In 2003 the legislature created the Mortgage Lending Fraud Prosecution Account, which created an ability to prosecute mortgage fraud in Washington State and came from a $1 fee on every deed of trust recorded.  The Department of Financial Institutions (DFI) oversees this account and funds the mortgage fraud group.  DFI refers cases to the PAO for criminal investigation, but the mortgage fraud group

 

DPA Hugo Torres, Senior DPA Jennifer Atchison and Investigator Linda Williamson
 
of the PAO’s Mortgage Fraud Unit.

also reviews referrals from law enforcement, the public, or even the media.  DPA Torres, is cross-designated as a Special Assistant United States Attorney and has the ability to prosecute cases in federal court, as well as state court.

One such case was Emiel Kandi, a hard money lender who once described himself as a wolf.  He submitted false information in at least 19 loans as a way to make them appear legitimate to Pierce Commercial Bank, as well as preyed upon desperate borrowers who were losing their homes to foreclosure.  Kandi is facing a sentence of over six years when he is sentenced in September in federal court.

Mortgage fraud often intersects with elder abuse and one example is the case brought against Norma Cheesman.  She was an in-home caregiver for Katsu and Charles Bradley, who were both in their 80’s with dementia.  Within a few months of beginning employment, Cheesman obtained a power of attorney and used it to deplete the victims’ life savings, including the equity in their home.  Cheesman obtained a reverse mortgage by literally guiding Katsu Bradley’s hand to sign her name on the loan documents because Ms. Bradley was too infirm to sign on her own.  In all, Cheesman stole over $500,000 from the victims’ in a little over a year.  Cheesman was convicted of these crimes and received an exceptional sentence of 18 months.

Case Updates:

Guilty Plea in 1980 Cold Case Homicide: State v. Michael Allan Halgren: Convicted sex offender Michael Allan Halgren pled guilty last week to a charge of Murder in the Second Degree for the murder of a 19-year-old woman in Bellevue 34 years ago.  DNA evidence linked the defendant to the murder of Susan Barbara Lowe, who was found strangled in her apartment in 1980.  Halgren, who has been in custody since 2002 after being civilly committed as a sexually violent predator, was charged in 2013 with Lowe’s murder.  Halgren, 58, faces a minimum sentence of 17 years up to a maximum of life in prison.  Although a crime from 1980 falls under the state’s prior indeterminate sentencing system, the state’s Indeterminate Sentence Review Board has the option of keeping Halgren incarcerated up to life.  If the defendant is ever granted parole, he would be returned to the Special Commitment Center. “There is a special satisfaction when we can solve a murder more than three decades old using modern forensic science,” said Dan Satterberg, King County Prosecuting Attorney.  “It is due to the dedication of the Bellevue Police Department, the Crime Lab and our Cold Case Project that this man, who thought he had gotten away with murder, will now spend up to the rest of his life in prison,” he added. Halgren will be sentenced next month.  The case was handled by Senior DPA Kristin Richardson, DPA Leah Taguba, and paralegal Sue Trujillo. The case was investigated by Detective Jerry Johnson of the Bellevue Police Department.

Sentencing in Murder of Kent Video Producer: State v. William L. “J.R.” Phillip, Jr:  A Portland man was sentenced Friday to 25 years in prison for the fatal stabbing of Seth Frankel in 2010 in Auburn.  A jury convicted the defendant William L. “J.R.” Phillip, Jr. in April of Murder in the First Degree.  Frankel was a well-known video producer for the City of Kent. Phillip became jealous of Frankel after a woman broke off her relationship with Phillip to start seeing Frankel again.  In May of 2010, Phillip stabbed Frankel to death in Frankel’s Auburn apartment.  Auburn Police detectives tracked Phillip by using his cell phone records and collected DNA from the plastic zip ties he used to confine Frankel, the same ties that Phillip also had access to at his job in Portland. Phillip, 33, faced a sentence range of 20 to 26 ½ years in prison.  The case was handled by Senior DPAs Wyman Yip and Patrick Hinds, paralegal Angela Blocki and victim advocate Karen Kunde.  Detective Jason Blake of the Auburn Police Department investigated the case.

Sentencing in Largest Wire Theft in State History: State v. Donald Turpin:  A local man was sentenced last month to nearly 12 ½ years in prison for stealing 4.3 miles of copper wiring from the Sound Transit Light Rail System.  A jury convicted Donald Howard Turpin, 55, of Burglary Second Degree, Theft First Degree with a metal theft aggravator, Trafficking in Stolen Property First Degree, and Leading Organized Crime.  It’s considered the largest known metal theft in Washington State.  A co-defendant, Lee Russell Skelly, 45, pled guilty to Theft First Degree.  Turpin was also ordered to pay over $1.3 million in restitution to Sound Transit.  The defendants committed the thefts by entering maintenance hatches in a tunnel that runs below the elevated portion of the light rail between the SeaTac and Rainer Beach rail stations.  They would remove the copper wire, which was designed to ground “stray voltage” in the track system, by using standard bolt cutters.  The investigation focused on Turpin after detectives found DNA evidence on items in the tunnel.  Turpin made approximately $50,000 in profit.  Turpin had a state issued business license which would allow him to scrap the metal with little if any scrutiny by the scrap metal buyers.  The replacement cost of the 55,000 pounds of copper wire was estimated at over $1.3 million; the copper itself was worth over $200,000.  The case was handled by Senior DPA Amanda Froh, DPA Peter Lewicki and paralegal Monicka Ly-Smith.  King County Sheriff’s Detectives Paula Bates, Ryan Abbott, and JD Williams investigated the case.

PAO Begins Annual Fundraising Drive for Food Lifeline

Food Frenzy is a two-week competition to raise funds and volunteer with Food Lifeline to stop hunger for children in Western Washington – particularly in the summertime, when the need is the greatest.  This year, Food Frenzy runs from July 11 – 25. 

The PAO has won the Public Sector Division for the last eight years.  PAO sections and work groups come up with their own fundraisers and events.  There are also opportunities to volunteer at one of the Food Lifeline sites.  Visit www.foodlifeline.org for more information.   

Some startling stats and background:

  • 472,000 kids in Washington are on free and reduced lunches
  • Of that, only 46,000 kids are getting food this summer
  • Food Lifeline is changing this by bringing food to programs where kids in need live, learn and play during the summertime
  • Utilizing strategic resources, including food that otherwise goes to waste (the “grocery rescue” program has rescued 93,301,039 pounds since 2002)
  • Food Lifeline’s reach is vast, from Lynden to Longview and from Aberdeen to Monroe, and just about every city, town and neighborhood in between

Community & Speaking Events


Dan Satterberg enjoys attending and speaking at community events.

Dan recently spoke at the following events:

  • ASIS Law Enforcement Appreciation Banquet.
  • Academic Achievement Awards Ceremony.
  • Highline High School Alumnus of the Year Celebration.

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CASE UPDATES:

State v. Michael Allan Halgren

State v. William L. “J.R.” Phillip, Jr

State v. Donald Turpin