Bisir Muhammad challenges the validity of the stop of his
car, the search of his car, and the gathering of other
evidence. He also challenges his convictions for first degree
murder and first degree rape on the basis of double jeopardy
and merger. We reject Muhammad's challenges and affirm
appeal lies from the callous murder of Ina Clare Richardson,
a petite 102-pound, 69-year-old woman. A jury convicted Bisir
Muhammad of the homicide. Because issues on appeal concern a
motion to suppress evidence and trial evidence, we alternate
between facts presented at the suppression hearing and the
begin with some trial testimony. Victim Ina Richardson
suffered from bipolar disorder. During her manic phases,
Richardson openly trusted others. On the night or morning of
November 6-7, 2014, someone beat, raped, and strangled
Richardson to death.
November 7, a couple on a morning walk discovered Ina
Richardson's naked corpse discarded along the side of an
access road to a park in Clarkston. The unidentified
Richardson bore bruises, scrapes, and cuts throughout her
body and swollen lips. Her body bore defensive wounds
indicating Richardson had struggled with her attacker. One of
Richardson's pinkie nails was torn off. Richardson bled
from her vagina and carried bruises on her thighs and
genitalia. Since Richardson's feet remained remarkably
clean, law enforcement officers suspected her killer slayed
her elsewhere and transported the corpus to the dump site.
the media broadcasted a description of the unidentified body,
Ina Richardson's friend, Jeff Smith, told law enforcement
that he suspected Richardson to be the deceased person. Smith
explained that he encountered Richardson at the Clarkston
Albertsons on the night of November 6 and that Richardson
then sought a ride home from the store. Smith could not help
Richardson because he rode a bicycle. Richardson
unsuccessfully asked others to provide a ride.
on Jeff Smith's tip, law enforcement procured and
reviewed security camera footage from an Albertsons grocery
store, a Costco store, a Walmart store, and a McDonald's
restaurant and spoke to workers at the business
establishments. The businesses surrounded one another. The
various security cameras activated on movement and
deactivated without movement. Law enforcement constructed a
timeline of Ina Richardson's last night alive using the
videotape showed a distinctive car leaving the nearby Quality
Inn and parking in the Walmart parking lot for approximately
one-half an hour. Bisir Muhammad worked that evening at the
Quality Inn. The older, boxy, maroon American model car
exhibited a discolored front driver's side rim, a chrome
strip, and a light on the side between the front and rear
Albertsons inside store camera depicted Ina Richardson
shopping for one hour and ten minutes. Video from the
Albertsons outside security camera showed Richardson leaving
the store at 11:06 p.m. and walking southeast through the
parking lot toward a ubiquitous McDonald's restaurant.
The video shows the distinctive car parked in the southeast
end of the parking lot near the McDonald's for a
considerable time before Richardson approached, with no one
entering or emerging from the car. The camera stopped
recording as Richardson walked into the darkness.
Albertsons video next displays the activation of the
headlights of the distinctive car. Seven minutes later the
car traveled west through the parking lot. Video from a
nearby Costco surveillance camera then showed the same
vehicle moving with two people inside. The car drove on to an
access road behind the Quality Inn and parked in a service
entrance area behind the hotel. Law enforcement later found a
condom wrapper in this secluded location. At 12:37 a.m.,
video showed the car leaving the vicinity. Richardson was
never again seen alive.
autopsy confirmed that someone sexually assaulted and
strangled Ina Richardson. The autopsy also verified injuries
to Richardson's scalp, face, lips, arms, forearms, hands,
thighs, knees, legs, right buttock, and left groin region.
Finally, the autopsy showed a large laceration in
Richardson's vaginal canal that evidenced a blunt object
being forced into the vagina and tearing tissue inside.
of Richardson's vagina later yielded a small amount of
deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) consistent with Bisir
Muhammad's DNA profile. Forensic scientist Anna Wilson
testified at trial that use of a condom would explain the
limited amount of DNA to test. DNA retrieved from under
Richardson's fingernails also matched Muhammad's DNA.
video last pictured Ina Richardson walking toward the
distinctive maroon car that soon left the parking lot, law
enforcement studied the features of the video in hopes of
locating the motor vehicle. On November 10, three days after
the discovery of Richardson's body, Clarkston Police
Officer Darrin Boyd espied the car driving on a city street.
Officer Boyd read the vehicle's license plate number and
stopped the maroon car to identify the driver and registered
owner of the car. Both were Bisir Muhammad.
turn to the content of police records filed in response to
the motion to suppress. During the investigating stop,
Officer Darrin Boyd told Bisir Muhammad of a crime that
occurred in the Albertsons parking lot on November 6 and of a
car matching Muhammad's car being in the lot. Officer
Boyd asked Muhammad whether he parked in the parking lot that
night, and Muhammad said no. Muhammad commented that, to his
recollection, he drove directly home after finishing his work
shift at the Quality Inn that night. Muhammad asked Boyd what
crime occurred, and Boyd responded by inquiring of Muhammad
if he read the paper. Muhammad answered no. Muhammad asked
Boyd if someone robbed McDonalds, and Boyd again answered in
the negative. To our knowledge, Boyd did not disclose the
nature of the crime. Boyd gained Muhammad's phone number
from Muhammad. Officer Boyd thanked Muhammad for his time,
apologized for any inconvenience, and released him.
questioning Bisir Muhammad, Officer Darin Boyd informed
others at the Clarkston Police Department that he located the
distinctive car depicted in the video footage. Sergeant
Richard Muszynski reviewed records and learned that Muhammad
was a registered sex offender. Muszynski also noted a prior
rape conviction from Arkansas for Muhammad under the alias
"Billy Joe Dallas." Clerk's Papers at 414, 475.
on November 10, Sergeant Richard Muszynski directed Officer
Darrin Boyd to surveil Bisir Muhammad and Muhammad's
vehicle. Officer Boyd viewed Muhammad retrieve a woman from
his apartment residence, drive to Walmart, enter the store,
and return to his home. Muhammad parked the maroon car at the
rear of the apartment. For some unknown reason, Boyd
abandoned his surveillance. When Boyd returned to the
Muhammad apartment building, Boyd noticed the car missing.
on November 10, while Officer Darrin Boyd tailed Muhammad,
Sergeant Richard Muszynski procured a warrant to search the
maroon car. Police could not thereafter locate the car.
Darrin Boyd grew concerned that Bisir Muhammad might flee,
destroy evidence, or endanger someone else's safety.
Officer Boyd asked police dispatch to request AT&T,
Muhammad's cell phone carrier, to "ping"
Muhammad's phone. The onomatopoeic term "ping"
references the sending of a signal to identify the current
location of a cell phone. The phone carrier can discern the
location through cell-site locations, truncated as cell-site
location (CSL) or cell-site location information (CSLI), or
by tracking satellite-based global positioning system data
(GPS). The carrier detects a general, not specified, area of
the phone by CSL when the cell phone connects with a cell
tower in order to initiate or receive a call. GPS data
reveals the exact location of the phone by revealing the
phone's latitude and longitude coordinates regardless of
a pending call.
return to more trial testimony. On November 10, Bisir
Muhammad's cell phone carrier used a CSL ping and
discovered Muhammad's presence in the vicinity of several
Lewiston, Idaho, orchards. Lewiston police officers
accompanied Clarkston officers in searching the region and
locating Muhammad and his car. At the orchards, Sergeant
Richard Muszynski advised Muhammad that he held a search
warrant for the maroon car and asked if Muhammad would speak
to officers at the Clarkston police station. Muhammad agreed,
and officers seized his car pursuant to the warrant. While in
the orchards, officers also seized Muhammad's cell phone
without a warrant. After traveling to Clarkston, officers
advised Muhammad of his constitutional rights. Muhammad
signed a form that waived his rights and consented to speak
with the officers.
the beginning of the Clarkston Police Department interview,
Bisir Muhammad claimed again that he drove directly home
after his shift washing dishes at the Quality Inn on November
6. Muhammad also stated he would have been home by 10:25 p.m.
Of course, law enforcement had already viewed videos that
contradicted Muhammad's statement. When confronted that a
video showed him parked in the Walmart parking lot, Muhammad
first responded that he did not remember going to Walmart and
had no reason to shop there. Muhammad next declared that he
entered Walmart to cash a paycheck, but the store refused to
cash the check. Officers then disclosed that the Walmart
security video depicted Muhammad sitting in his car in the
parking lot for thirty minutes and never emerging from the
car. Muhammad again changed his story and asserted that he
saw his friend Mike Delameter at a nearby Motel 6. When
officers told Muhammad that a video pictured Ina Richardson
walking toward his car that night, he stated he visited with
Delameter in the motel at that time. Officers later
approached Delameter, who denied seeing Muhammad that night.
the November 10 interview at the Clarkston Police Department
station, Bisir Muhammad also told officers that he worked at
the Clarkston Albertsons for two months, ending two weeks
before November 6, 2014. The officers showed Muhammad a
picture of Ina Richardson and asked if he knew her from her
shopping at Albertsons. Muhammad recognized Richardson but
maintained that he only spoke to her once in a large group
setting. Nevertheless, Albertsons security camera footage
from inside the store showed Muhammad and Richardson talking
alone together on two occasions. In one of the videos, taken
one week before her rape and murder, Richardson appears to
rebuff an attempted kiss from Muhammad.
the November 10 interview, Bisir Muhammad repeatedly denied
participation in Ina Richardson's disappearance and death
and refused to donate a DNA sample. Muhammad finally
exercised his right to counsel and left the interview.
searching Bisir Muhammad's maroon car, officers found, in
the trunk, latex gloves, personal lubricant, pornographic
digital video disks, and a box of condoms bearing the same
lot number as the condom wrapper found in the secluded area
where Muhammad had parked for an hour after leaving the
Albertsons parking lot. Albertsons clerk Vickie Hollahan
testified at trial that Muhammad informed her that he and his
wife, who is disabled, do not have sex. Law enforcement
tested blood stains on the front passenger seat and headrest
and confirmed the fluid as Ina Richardson's blood.
also garnered a warrant to search Bisir Muhammad's cell
phone and to gather Muhammad's phone records from
AT&T. The phone records undermine Muhammad's claim
that he arrived home on November 6 by 10:25 p.m. The records
confirm phone calls between Muhammad and his wife beginning
at 12:17 a.m. on November 7, 2014, an hour after his car left
the Albertsons parking lot. AT&T CSL data confirmed that
Muhammad's phone remained stationary during the time his
car was parked behind the Quality Inn. After 12:30 a.m., his
phone used other cell phone towers, indicating Muhammad
traveled. At one time, Muhammad's phone used a cell tower
with an unobstructed line of sight to the location where the
walkers found Ina Richardson's body.
arrested Bisir Muhammad on November 13, 2014. The local
newspaper reported the arrest on the front page of the
November 13 edition. At 4:50 a.m., on November 14,
Muhammad's wife, Detra, called her insurance agent Vicki
DeRoche. Detra hysterically wept and told DeRoche that she
worried Muhammad had acted awfully. Detra explained that
Muhammad came home late on the night of the murder without
explanation, that blood spotted his clothes, and that he
discarded a used condom while claiming the condom was a latex
glove he used to help an injured coworker.
State of Washington charged Bisir Muhammad with murder in the
first degree and rape in the first degree. The State pled
first degree murder under the felony murder provisions of RCW
9A.32.030(1)(c) based on Muhammad committing the homicide in
the furtherance of the rape.
Muhammad moved to suppress all physical evidence obtained
during the law enforcement investigation of his case and
identification and location information derived from the
warrantless ping. Muhammad also sought suppression of his
prearrest statements, including statements made to Officer
Darrin Boyd during the car stop. Muhammad argued that Officer
Boyd conducted an unlawful stop and that law enforcement
improperly gained all search warrants based on information
gathered during that stop. Muhammad also argued that officers
lacked authority to seize his car in Idaho based on a
Washington warrant and that the cell phone ping used to
locate Muhammad qualified as an unlawful search. The trial
court found that, even if the ping constituted a search,
exigent circumstances justified immediate police action to
direct the ping. The trial court denied the suppression
motion. The court issued an order denying suppression, but
entered no formal findings of fact.
trial, the jury found Bisir Muhammad guilty of both charges.
The jury also found the facts sufficient to support the
presence of aggravating circumstances, because of Ina
Richardson's vulnerability. The trial court imposed a
term of 548 months' confinement for the murder and an
indeterminate sentence of 318 months' confinement to life
for the rape. Due to the jury's finding of aggravating
circumstances, the court ordered, as an exceptional sentence,
that the two sentences be served consecutively instead of
concurrently. The total term amounts to at least 866 months.
The trial court ...