By Rikki King Herald Writer
LAKE STEVENS — A young woman who was killed at her Lake Stevens home in June was the apparent victim of a violent felon with a history of mental health problems, lawyers said in court Wednesday.
Phillipa S. Evans-Lopez, 20, was stabbed two dozen times, and her throat was cut, Snohomish County deputy prosecutor Matt Hunter said.
Evans-Lopez had a 3-year-old son, according to her obituary.
On Tuesday night, police arrested a Spokane-area fugitive, Anthony E. Garver, 25, in connection with the case. When he was arrested, Garver reportedly was carrying a folding knife with apparent blood stains.
Court papers say that Evans-Lopez and Garver were strangers. Surveillance video recorded them a few days before the killing at a local restaurant. Police have not released any information about a potential motive.
Garver was being held without bail Wednesday on suspicion of first-degree murder. He allegedly is connected to the killing by genetic evidence found at the scene.
Prosecutors in court Wednesday alleged that the killing was premeditated because Evans-Lopez had been tied to a bed with electrical cords before she was stabbed.
At the time of the killing, Garver was being sought on state and federal arrest warrants related to past convictions. He was released from federal prison in February after serving time for threatening to blow up a government building in Spokane. He’s also been involuntarily committed to a mental hospital, and has claimed ties to anarchist and domestic-terrorism causes in Eastern Washington.
Garver had been on the lam since March 8, when he failed to report to his community corrections officer in Spokane.
A few days later, the U.S. Marshal’s Office issued another warrant for Garver’s arrest for a probation violation related to a weapons offense, an agency spokeswoman said. Some of his criminal history lists him as Anthony Burke.
The state Department of Corrections and the U.S. Marshal’s Office were working together to find him, officials said Wednesday.
Evans-Lopez’ body was found June 17.
Genetic material collected from the crime scene, including from an electrical cord, reportedly matched Garver’s sample in a DNA database, court papers show.
Garver was arrested without incident Tuesday night at a fast-food restaurant in north Everett.
It appears he was assigned to a halfway house in Western Washington but never showed up there, said Deputy U.S. Marshal Robert Gerg, who leads the multi-agency Snohomish County Violent Offender Task Force based in Smokey Point.
Snohomish County sheriff’s Major Crimes detectives had asked the task force for help in locating Garver, Gerg said.
“We knew he was over in this area and that’s when we started scouring and hitting a whole bunch of shelter areas and homeless areas trying to see where we could find him,” he said.
They interviewed a number of people, one of whom spotted Garver Tuesday night at an Everett McDonald’s. The task force arrested Garver on the warrants and turned him over to the sheriff’s office.
In court papers, sheriff’s detectives described Garver as a survivalist who “is anti-government, has history of military style weapons and explosives, and he has threatened to shoot anyone who confronts him.” He also has made death threats against public officials, including a prosecutor and a judge.
His mental health issues often have complicated his court hearings, federal records show.
Days after Evans-Lopez was found dead, Garver reportedly sent his mother an email saying “that it might be the last time she’ll hear from him,” detectives wrote. He said he would never go back to prison.
Court papers say he has domestic terrorism aspirations and anarchist ties, and has studied Al-Qaida training manuals.
He reportedly denied knowing Evans-Lopez after he was arrested. He later said he might have moved items around inside her house.
Garver was defiant in Everett District Court Wednesday, and his microphone was shut off after he repeatedly interrupted his defense attorney and the judge. He also cursed and demanded to be released.
The man denied that he was Anthony Garver and said detectives had misrepresented his statements to make them sound “more suspicious.”
He was denied bail in part because lawyers were unable to continue the hearing due to his repeated outbursts.
Lawyers are set to discuss his bail again in court next week.
Court papers show that in 2008, federal prosecutors tried to get Garver locked up for as long as possible, citing a psychiatric assessment that concluded he posed a danger to the community.
His criminal history includes burglaries, a car theft and possessing illegal ammunition, court papers show. He repeatedly has made headlines in Spokane for going on the run, including a police chase in Montana in 2010, according to articles in The Spokesman-Review newspaper.
He has been diagnosed with anti-social disorder and is mildly autistic, the newspaper reported. Court papers also say he has a fascination with bombs, chemistry and computers.
Evans-Lopez grew up in Woodinville, her obituary said. She loved people, music and Facebook. She loved being with her son.
“She prided herself on the fact that her friends often confided in her in their time of need,” the obituary said. “She lived her life with a no fear mentality and had a wonderful sense of humor that was accompanied by an amazing laugh. We will always remember her infectious smile and her loving and caring personality.”
Rikki King: 425-339-3449; firstname.lastname@example.org