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State v. Bulichi

February 24, 1997


Appeal from Superior Court of Snohomish County. Docket No: 93-1-01259-9. Date filed: 11/07/94. Judge signing: Hon. Joseph Thibodeau.

Authored by Ronald E. Cox. Concurring: Walter E. Webster, Ann L. Ellington.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Cox

COX, J. -- One of the renters of a house in Mill Creek returned home one afternoon and found two of his friends slain in the garage. The police investigation soon focused on Martin Bulichi, a neighbor who had previously complained about loud music coming from the house. The authorities charged Bulichi with aggravated first degree murder. He appeals, claiming that there was insufficient evidence to support his jury conviction. Because we conclude that there was sufficient evidence for the jury to find beyond a reasonable doubt that the murders were part of a common scheme or plan and we reject Bulichi's other arguments, we affirm.

In July 1993, Robert McClure and Brian Beebe moved into a rental house in Mill Creek. One reason McClure decided to rent a house was to be able to play music loudly without disturbing the neighbors.

Several days after McClure and Beebe began moving in, Martin Bulichi, a neighbor, came over to their house. McClure walked into the living room and found Bulichi there. Bulichi told McClure that he did not want to hear loud music and that it bothered his family. McClure believed Bulichi was referring to the first night he and Beebe had moved in, when they had played loud music until 3 a.m. He apologized for that incident. McClure then attempted to work out some kind of arrangement with Bulichi. He suggested either that he would not play loud music after curfew or that Bulichi could call McClure if the music disturbed him. McClure testified that Bulichi rejected any attempts to work out an arrangement. Finally, McClure suggested that either he or Bulichi talk to the police. At that point, McClure testified that Bulichi said, "I don't deal with the police. I deal with my own problems." McClure did not take this comment as a threat, but it concerned him. McClure and Beebe continued to play music in the house following this incident, but McClure did not see Bulichi again.

Kenneth Slavens, another neighbor, testified that "the defendant" came to his house twice to complain about loud music. However, Slavens was unable to identify Bulichi in court and could not describe him except that "he had an accent. He was foreign." Bulichi is from the former Yugoslavia. On recross, Slavens testified that he was drunk on the first night when the complaining person came to his house.

Early on the morning of August 3, 1993, McClure came home from his job and got ready for school. His roommate, Brian Beebe, and Brian's friend, Robyn Glover, were asleep in the house. When McClure returned early that afternoon, he found the door to the house open. He discovered the bodies of Beebe and Glover on the floor in the garage. In response to McClure's 911 call, firefighter/EMTs appeared on the scene. They examined the bodies and concluded that Beebe and Glover were dead.

The murder investigation focused on Bulichi as a suspect. His oldest daughter stated that she saw her father enter McClure's house, heard some bangs that sounded like gunshots, and saw him run out of the house. Bullets found at Bulichi's business were the same batch as those recovered at the scene. The State charged him with aggravated first degree murder.

At trial, Bulichi raised an insanity defense. Three experts testified about this defense. Dr. George Harris, a psychiatrist, testified for the defense. He concluded that Bulichi had a paranoid personality and had suffered from paranoid delusional disorder at the time of the killing. Harris testified that he did not feel that the music was the sole explanation for Bulichi's actions. He noted that the decision of whether Bulichi was insane was up to the jury, but stated that he questioned Bulichi's ability to understand what he was doing at the time of the shooting. He further testified that Bulichi believed he was acting in self-defense.

Dr. Carl Redick, a clinical psychologist who examined Bulichi for the State, testified that he did not find that Bulichi had a disorder that would "explain in a legally relevant manner" why he killed the two victims. He also testified on recross that he did not have an opinion with a reliable degree of certainty as to Bulichi's state of mind at the time of the killing.

Dr. Kenneth Muscatel, a clinical psychologist, interviewed Bulichi and his wife for the defense and was called as a witness by the State. He testified that while there were indications that Bulichi was paranoid, he was unable to reach a Conclusion as to Bulichi's legal sanity at the time of the killings.

Dr. Muscatel also testified that Bulichi indicated that just prior to the killings, he felt that the loud music coming from McClure and Beebe's house was to spite him.

The jury rejected the insanity defense. It found Bulichi guilty on both counts of aggravated first degree murder. It found two aggravating factors for both counts: common plan or scheme and that the murders were intended to conceal another crime or the identity of a person.

On appeal, Bulichi is represented by counsel solely on the issue of the aggravating factors. We address separately Bulichi's pro se arguments. We do not consider Bulichi's pro se reply brief because he submitted it after the Clerk of this ...

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