WARNING! THIS STORY CONTAINS EXPLICIT DESCRIPTIONS OF ANIMAL ABUSE.
Several media outlets reported last week that a homeless man accused of killing a 14-year-old Jack Russell Terrier named Alice in Seattle’s Pioneer Square last month did not appear at his second court appearance.
The man is also accused of assaulting John Hickey, the dog’s 67-year-old owner.
A warrant has now been issued for his arrest on two felony counts: first-degree attempted theft and first-degree animal cruelty.
Here’s how the Seattle Police Blotter described the vicious attack that occurred on May 31:
“On Saturday afternoon, the 67-year-old victim was walking his dog through City Hall Park. The suspect confronted him and demanded his jacket. The victim feared the suspect was going to forcibly take the jacket from him, so he pepper-sprayed the suspect in self-defense. The suspect backed away and the victim attempted to leave the area.”
“As the victim was walking away, the suspect ran up behind him and kicked his dog so hard she flew into the air. The victim was also pushed to the ground in the process and sustained minor injuries. When he stood up to go to his dog, he could see she was deceased. The dog was fourteen years old.”
Investigators told KIRO 7 that the man accused of killing Alice, 29-year-old Courtney J. Williams, lived in a tent near City Hall Park next to the King County Courthouse.
In light of viciousness of the attack that killed Alice and injured her owner, the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office reportedly asked Judge Marcus Naylor to hold the suspect on $25,000 bail and find probable cause for felony animal cruelty.
KIRO 7 reported that both Seattle Police and the prosecutor told Judge Naylor, “(The suspect) is now a complete danger to the public and property. If he is released, he will more than likely to return to City Hall Park, where his assaultive/destructive/aggressive behavior will continue to increase and cause havoc to residents and visitors of the Seattle area.”
But inexplicably, Judge Naylor not only decided to release Williams from jail on his on recognizance, he also reduced the recommended sentence second-degree animal cruelty, which is only a gross misdemeanor.
According to KIRO 7, prosecutors now say that because Williams has no known address, “officers will have to find the suspect and re-arrest him.”
What the hell was Judge Naylor thinking???
How could he possibly decide against both the recommendation of the prosecutor and Seattle police that a man accused of killing a small, 14-year-old dog and assaulting her elderly owner in broad daylight deserved to be released from jail with no bail?
He didn’t even think the suspect should be charged with a felony. Apparently kicking a dog to death is only a misdemeanor in Judge Naylor’s court.
Fortunately, King County prosecutors charged Williams with first degree animal cruelty on June 4 anyway.
“We’re not going to ignore this case … to have this kind of abuse against an animal and to know it’s happening at a time when there’s a rise in animal cruelty cases, it’s really sickening,” Casey McNerthney with the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office told KIRO 7.
Mr. Hickey told Q13 that he’s not sure what his life will be like without Alice.
“She got me through days when I literally don’t think I would’ve gotten up in the morning. Except I knew she needed me and she knew that I needed her.”
A gofundme has been set up for Mr. Hickey in hopes funds can help him move out of Pioneer Square.
A profile of Judge Naylor in the King County Bar Association’s Bar Bulletin about a year ago noted that “Judge Marcus Naylor’s courtroom is about the three “C”s — community, connection and compassion.”
I fail to see any compassion for Mr. Hickey or Alice in Judge Naylor’s ruling.
Judge Naylor was elected to the Northeast Division of the King County District Court in 2018.
I hope Seattle voters will remember how Judge Naylor handled this case when he is up for election in 2022.