SEATTLE — A 29-year-old homeless man who Seattle police describe as “aggressive, assaultive and destructive,” was released by a King County judge without bail after he was arrested for allegedly kicking and killing a man’s 14-year-old pet dog — a Jack Russell terrier named Alice — during a robbery attempt.
According to Seattle police, the dog’s owner — a 67-year-old man who lives at the nearby Frye Apartments — was walking his dog through a trail in City Hall Park next to the King County Courthouse on April 30. The park is also the site of one of the most established homeless encampments in Seattle.
Investigators said a 29-year-old man who lived in a tent in the park confronted the dog’s owner, demanding he hand over the jacket he was wearing and threatened to beat him.
In court documents, Seattle police said the dog’s owner who was wearing an orthopedic boot after having surgery on his leg, tried to pepper-spray the suspect out of fear and attempted to hobble away. Police said the suspect sprinted after him on the sidewalk outside of the park.
“Without breaking stride, he kicked Alice, launching Alice into the air,” investigators wrote in court documents. “(The owner) witnessed his dog’s head impact the concrete and he immediately knew his longtime companion was deceased.”
The suspect was arrested for animal cruelty and robbery. King County prosecutors asked Judge Marcus Naylor to keep the suspect in jail, recommending $25,000 bail. Instead, the judge decided to release the suspect on his own recognizance.
“The decision to keep someone in jail or not is only up to a judge,” said Casey McNerthney with the King County Prosecutor’s Office. “The best prosecutors can do is what we did here: show the evidence that we have from police and argue that someone is a danger.”
Seattle police and the prosecutor told the judge:
“(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.”
Adding to the issue, prosecutors said the suspect has no known address. And if he’s charged with felony animal cruelty, officers will have to find the suspect and re-arrest him. Prosecutors said felony animal cruelty charges could be filed later this week.
“You can count of the prosecutor’s office that every time someone is arrested for allegedly kicking a dog to death, we’ll be in court to ask that the person be held in jail,” McNerthney said.