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Almost Witness for the Prosecution: My Murder Story
August 5, 2019
by William P. Meyers

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Judge Rules in Favor of Gun Wielding Murderers in Seattle

According to police (as reported in the Seattle Times and elsewhere) on Saturday night, June 16, 2018 two men met in Shoreline, the mainly suburban city just north of Seattle, to conduct a drug deal. Or at least that is what Pablo Gutierrez Reyes, 47, thought was going to happen. Instead it was a planned rip-off, and 17 year old Luis Campuzano shot and killed Reyes.

This took place 15 blocks east and 2 blocks north of my townhouse, which is located near the north edge of Seattle.

I usually get up very early in the morning. It was still dark when I got up on Sunday, June 17 and went outside to get the Seattle Times (the rest of the week I view it online). There was a car parked illegally next to my house. Other times I have gone straight up to such a car and asked the driver if her or she was lost, or did not see all the no parking signs. But I was not dressed, and sometimes the people mis-parked there are guests of one of the other town houses in our complex, so I went inside.

Occasionally I checked the car from the window. It was a black SUV with dark windows in the back. I could see one young man, I guessed in his twenties, playing with a cell phone. I figured he had been out partying and would leave when the sun came up. he seemed to sometimes be talking to passengers, but I could not see them.

The sun was well up when I saw him with what looked like a black automatic pistol in his hands instead of the cell phone.

I don't like to call the police unless there is a real emergency. But after hesitating a time, hoping they would just drive away, I decided to let the police decide if it was an emergency or not. I described the situation to a 911 operator. She kept me on the line. She asked me if I had the license plate number, I said I could not see it but could go outside and look, she advised me to stay inside.

Soon a police car arrived. We are on an alley with only one way out. Then another police car arrived. Then another. Then the police cautiously approached the parked vehicle. The driver appeared to cooperate with the police. They frisked him and handcuffed him. Then it turned out there were two other young men in the car, who also cooperated and were handcuffed. I did not get a good look at the young men. When the three men were taken away one of the police officers took a statement from me in front of a video camera.

They left the car there. The police officer said they were done with the car and we could tow it. I am not the towing person at our complex, so I had to involve someone else. But before our tow truck could get to it, the police called me and said they were going to tow it for evidence. I imagined a hidden drug compartment, or something of the sort.

As is detailed in Prosecutors: Robbery was the motive for Shoreline fatal shooting, the arrest escalated from possession of an illegal handgun to murder in a few hours. My thought was: if I murdered someone, I sure would not drive just 17 blocks and park in a red zone under a security light by a sign warning about towing and wait for the sun to come up while displaying a 9mm pistol with a spent casing on the floor beneath me.

Being 17, Luis Campuzano seems to have dropped from the news, so maybe he made a plea deal. The rest of this story is about one of the two other people in the car. And me.

In October 2018 I received a summons from the King County Prosecutors office to appear in court as a witness in the case of Hintsaselassie Feseha, who was charged with Unlawful Possession of a Firearm in the First Degree. The appearance was to be on February 6, 2019. Now I am a fan of The Wire, and I know that this is Seattle, not Baltimore, and that being killed before I could be a witness was not likely. But I did make a conscious decision to testify after considering the possible consequences.

Then the delays began, but on February 22, 2019, I was questioned by Feseha's defense attorney, by telephone. Since everyone would have both the 911 call and the statement I made immediately after the arrests, I guess the defenders were hoping I would not be a credible defendant. That is their job.

Finally, in late June 2019, I was told a trial date was set, and I should be prepared to testify. I have never testified in a criminal case, so I thought it would be interesting.

Time passed and I was not given an actual time to appear, so I called the prosecutor's office for an update.

The case had been dismissed.

This is where it gets really interesting, because the case dismissal required combining an ultra-right legal idea with an ultra-liberal legal idea. The prosecutor took the time to explain it to me, and I think you might be interested. But I note that a defense attorney would say this is the a wonderful ruling.

It seems that after my murder event, at the beginning of 2019, another case ruling established a precedent. In State v. Tarango the Court of Appeals of the State of Washington ruled that a man who displayed a gun inside his car in a shopping mall lot was unlawfully arrested. Why? Because Washington is a open carry state, meaning you don't need a special license to carry a gun as long as you carry it openly. Even though the gun turned out to be an illegal gun.

Now our local judge could have ruled that situation I was witness to was sufficiently different, because not only had the car driver openly displayed a murder weapon, but the murderer was parked on private property in a red zone where he had no right to be, as opposed to a public parking lot. And the police were on the lookout for a murderer in the vicinity.

Just in case you missed it, the ultra-liberal idea is that police must have probable cause to make an arrest or even to take a look at a situation. And the ultra-right idea is that the same Constitution that in the 1780s said you have a right to carry a muzzle-loading pistol around with you now says you have a right to carry a semi-automatic pistol or riffle around with you that can kill a couple of dozen people in less than a minute.

Draw your own conclusions.

But I do want to thank the police for showing up that morning, and the prosecutors for doing their best.

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