By Diana Hefley Herald Writer
EVERETT — A violent felon who once served time in federal prison for threatening to blow up a government building has been charged with first-degree murder in connection with the brutal stabbing death of a young woman in Lake Stevens.
Phillipa S. Evans-Lopez, 20, was tied to a bed with electrical cords before she was stabbed two dozen times. Prosecutors allege Anthony Garver, 25, also slashed the woman’s throat.
Evans-Lopez, who grew up in Woodinville, was the mother of a 3-year-old boy.
Deputy prosecutor Matt Hunter on Friday filed the murder charge against Garver for the June killing. Investigators say Garver was connected to the homicide through genetic evidence he allegedly left on the electrical cords that were used to bind Evans-Lopez. They also reportedly found the slain woman’s blood on a knife that was seized from Garver when he was arrested July 2, court papers said. Garver also allegedly was in possession of a laptop missing from the woman’s Lake Stevens home.
The motive for the killing remains unclear.
In tracking down the slain woman’s whereabouts in the days before she was killed, Snohomish County sheriff’s detectives received tips that Evans-Lopez had been at the Everett Walmart on June 14. Police obtained video footage from the store and discovered that Evans-Lopez and the defendant were together at the store in the early morning hours. A witness told investigators that Evans-Lopez said she had just met the man at an Everett McDonald’s. Detectives collected video footage from that restaurant, where Garver was known to hang out and where he was later arrested. The video shows that both were there, but they don’t appear to be together. Later that morning, they were captured on video at a Lake Stevens McDonald’s. In that footage, they seem to be accompanying each other.
“It appears the two met at — or after leaving — the Everett McDonald’s. They went to Walmart together and then the Lake Stevens McDonald’s. Sometime thereafter, the defendant slaughtered Ms. Evans-Lopez as she was tied to her bed,” Hunter wrote in charging papers.
Garver has denied killing Lopez-Evans. He reportedly told police that his DNA was in her house because he helped her move some furniture. When he was confronted about the bloody knife, Garver reportedly said, “I’ve told you everything I want to say.”
A witness told detectives that Garver was squatting in a vacant house in Everett. He was living there for a couple of weeks. A witness said Garver was gone for a couple of days in mid-June. He returned June 18 and reportedly argued with another squatter. The witness said Garver pulled a knife and threatened to stab everyone in the house, Hunter wrote.
At the time of the homicide, Garver was wanted by state and federal authorities. He had been on the run since March after he failed to report to his community corrections officer in Spokane. He’d been released from federal prison a month earlier after serving time for threats he made to blow up a government building in Spokane.
Garver has a history of mental health problems, and was involuntarily committed to Eastern State Hospital. Court papers say Garver has ties to anarchist and domestic-terrorism causes.
He is expected to answer to the murder charge Monday in Snohomish County Superior Court. He faces decades behind bars if he is convicted. Garver is being held without the possibility of bail.
Detectives are asking anyone with information about the defendant or Evans-Lopez to call the sheriff’s office tip line at 425-388-3845.
Diana Hefley: 425-339-3463; firstname.lastname@example.org.