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Washington v. Grant

July 9, 1973


Appeal from a judgment of the Superior Court for King County, No. 56946, David W. Soukup, J., entered September 30, 1971.

Horowitz, J. Williams and Callow, JJ., concur.

Author: Horowitz

Defendant was convicted and sentenced, after jury trial, on four counts of first-degree murder, the life sentences to be served consecutively. Defendant appeals.

The facts as the jury could have found them are briefly these. On December 15, 1969, about 7:15 p.m., Carol Adele Erickson, age 19, was walking home from the Renton Municipal Library along a dirt road which runs parallel to the Cedar River. While so walking, defendant attacked her by plunging a hunting knife into her back, causing her death. He dragged Miss Erickson into the bushes nearby and raped her. In addition, he wrapped her shoelaces around her neck leaving constriction marks. The above facts were established at trial through the testimony of investigators at the crime scene, the autopsy surgeon, and the confessions of the defendant on April 30, 1971.

On September 20, 1970 at approximately 4:50 p.m.,

Joanne Marie Zulauf, whose age according to the state was 17, left her home to take a short walk before dinner. About 12:20 a.m. on September 22, her nude body was found in a heavily-wooded area. She had been struck in the back of the head with a rock-like object; however, she died as a result of asphyxia caused by strangulation. Miss Zulauf's watch was missing from her body. These facts were established through the testimony of crime scene investigators, the autopsy surgeon, and persons who had seen Miss Zulauf prior to her disappearance. The evidence at trial on this count against the defendant consisted of his oral confession to Detective Gillespie of the Seattle Police Department and his written confession to Detective Sergeant George Helland of the King County sheriff's office on April 30, 1971. A tape recording of Sergeant Helland's entire interview with defendant was admitted into evidence and played before the jury. The state also presented circumstantial evidence that defendant committed the murder. The defendant's former girl friend testified that defendant gave a watch to her as a birthday present on September 26, 1970. The watch was identified as belonging to Miss Zulauf.

On April 20, 1971, two 6-year-old boys, Scott Andrews and Bradley Lyons, wandered away from their homes in Renton. The boys were last seen playing behind the Lyons' residence at approximately 11:15 a.m. on the morning of the 20th. After extensive search, the bodies of the two boys were discovered on the evening of April 22, 1971 in a heavily-wooded area about 2 miles from their homes. The boys' clothing, as well as ferns and leaves, had been strewn over the bodies, leaving only the heads visible. There were three stab wounds in the left chest area of Scott Andrews, two of which were fatal as they penetrated his body approximately 4 1/2 inches. The body of Bradley Lyons was found next to Scott Andrews. Bradley Lyons died as a result of asphyxiation caused by strangulation by ligature. Both boys had contusions, indicating they had been beaten about the face. The crime scene investigators took plaster casts of

two footprints at the scene, which were later matched with the tennis shoes worn by defendant at the time of his arrest.

On April 28, 1971, search teams found a hunting knife located approximately 156 feet from where the two boys were found. This knife had blood on the blade matching the blood type of Scott Andrews. Inscribed on the handle of the knife was the name "Tom Evenson." Mr. Evenson testified that the knife had been sold to Jerry Triplett. A Jim Monger testified that he acquired the knife from Jerry Triplett and last saw it in defendant's possession. As a result of their interviews with Monger and Evenson on April 29 and 30, 1971, Renton police detectives Hume and Phelan contacted defendant at his home in Renton on April 30, 1971. Detectives Hume and Phelan and Detectives Gillespie and Helland testified extensively concerning their interviews with defendant on April 30, 1971.

Defendant makes eight assignments of error, argued extensively. After consideration of the contentions advanced, we find no reversible error. We confine our discussion to the critical arguments advanced, finding it unnecessary to comment on many of the cases cited.

In defendant's first two assignments of error defendant contends the court erred in denying his motion to dismiss the charges against defendant on the ground that police officers secretly and illegally monitored and taped a conversation of defendant with his attorney, Mr. Robert Kroum, on May 1, 1971. Defendant also contends the court erred in refusing to suppress the "bugged conversation between defendant and Detective Hume . . . and all evidence which might have been gained" thereby, including defendant's conversation. At the CrR 101.20W hearing it appeared that Detective Hume interviewed defendant at the police station on April 30, 1971 concerning defendant's involvement with the killings. That conversation was secretly monitored and taped by another police officer without the knowledge or consent of the defendant or the detective.

The evidence also showed that on May 1, 1971, defendant was interviewed by Mr. Kroum, his attorney, in the presence of defendant's father, all three of whom were then at the Renton police station. On this occasion also a Renton police officer listened in and made a tape recording of the conversation without the knowledge and consent of any of the three persons present. After reviewing the evidence, including the conversations described, the court entered detailed findings and conclusions. In substance, he ruled:

[T]hat all written and oral statements are admissible up to and including the statement taken by Detective Helland. That the statements taken subsequent to that, after 9:00 a.m. on May 1st, are inadmissible. With regard to those statements, the State has failed to meet its burden of proving that the defendant had an ...

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