2 of county’s highest-profile homicide trials delayed

EVERETT — The fates of two men charged with some of Snohomish County’s highest-profile homicides now likely won’t be known until sometime next year.

On Friday, trials were rescheduled to 2014 for Danny Giles. Both are locked up in the county jail, charged with first-degree murder in unrelated killings, separated by years.

Alan Smith

Smith, 38, of Bothell, is charged with beating, stabbing and drowning his estranged wife in February. His trial was rescheduled for May 2, 2014.

Deputy prosecutor Craig Matheson has alleged the Boeing engineer planned and executed the killing and embarked on an elaborate effort to hide his role. Then, as detectives turned up the heat, Smith allegedly admitted his involvement to a friend from church.

The fatal attack came as the Smiths engaged in a bitter divorce and battle over custody of their two children.

Smith is accused of attacking his wife, Susann, 37, as she slept. She was beaten with a mallet, stabbed and then held her underwater in the tub.

The killer left no fingerprints. Patterns left in the blood led investigators to conclude the killer likely donned a special set of plastic coveralls and gardening sandals.

Smith allegedly bought latex gloves, disposable shoe covers, plastic-type coveralls and gardening sandals with a sole pattern that reportedly matched a bloody shoeprint at the scene, according to court papers.

Detectives served several search warrants and at one point arrested Smith for allegedly obstructing their investigation. Smith was charged with the killing after one of his church friends told detectives that Smith had admitted responsibility and talked about surrendering to authorities.

At the time, Smith had moved back into the home where his wife died. He had a new girlfriend who used Facebook and other social media to share details about the couple’s relationship and developments in the investigation.

Danny Giles

Giles, 45, was scheduled to go on trial late this month, charged with the “cold case” killings of two young women in 1995. His new trial date is Sept. 19, 2014.

Matheson is also the deputy prosecutor assigned to the Giles case. The trial continuance was supported by Giles’ attorney, seasoned public defender Neal Friedman.

It is a complex case with police reports and other records in the case now numbering about 15,000 pages, Matheson told the court Friday.

A repeat sex offender, Giles allegedly is linked by genetic test results and other evidence to the July 1995 stabbing death of Patti Berry and the May 1995 disappearance of Tracey Brazzel. Giles pleaded not guilty when charged with the killings in 2012.

Previously, Giles had been locked up at the state’s Special Commitment Center on McNeil Island after King County prosecutors petitioned to have him declared a sexually violent predator. His criminal record includes the 1987 rape of a woman attacked while she was in a tanning bed and other crimes against women and girls, starting in his teens.

Word of the genetic test results became public in 2011 while Giles was nearing the end of a six-year prison sentence for exposing himself to two college-aged women near the University of Washington.

He hadn’t been a suspect when the 1995 crimes occurred.

Brazzel was 22 when she disappeared. Her body has never been found. Berry was 26 when somebody killed her in her car.

Investigators began focusing on Giles after genetic material from the scene of Berry’s killing was matched to a DNA sample he had provided when sent to prison in 2005. Genetic tests also connected him to Brazzel’s abandoned vehicle. He reportedly was known to frequent the same pub where Brazzel was last seen and where Berry often stopped at after work, according to court papers.

Scott North: 425-339-3431, north@heraldnet.com.

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