Judge tough on mother and son

EVERETT – Hasan Clay and his mother, Mary Clay, had a brief reunion Monday as she moved out of a jail holding area to a courtroom where the two were sentenced to prison for different violent crimes.

She was sentenced to seven years for assaulting a police officer, and will have to do that time on top of an earlier 14-month drug possession conviction.

He got 42 years for a home- invasion robbery attempt that resulted in two Lynnwood residents being wounded by gunshots, and a loaded pistol put to the head of an 11-year-old girl.

The same judge gave both mother and son the high end of their respective sentencing ranges.

Although the sentencings happened in the same courtroom minutes apart, Mary Clay and her son did not appear in front of the judge in tandem.

As she was led to Snohomish County Superior Court Judge George Bowden’s courtroom, Mary Clay, 51, could be heard shouting to Hasan Clay, who waited in a nearby holding cell.

“Hey, baby!” she yelled to her son. “I love you. I’m looking at eight” years.

A jury on March 7 convicted Mary Clay of second-degree assault for kicking a woman police officer’s hand and severely injuring a finger. Jurors also found her guilty of possessing cocaine.

Judge Bowden said he ordered the unusual back-to-back sentencing for the mother and son to give Mary Clay a chance to speak on behalf of Hasan Clay.

All she said was that her son had been doing well, and that it was evidence of an accident – not a crime – that Hasan Clay’s telephone apparently was dropped outside the home where the robbery attempt occurred.

At the time of her April 20 arrest, Mary Clay was enrolled in Snohomish County Drug Court, an intense program designed to help addicts kick drugs instead of going to jail.

Bowden, who presides over drug court, said Monday that the rules had to be stretched to get Mary Clay into the program because of her eight previous felony convictions, including drug possession, forgery and assaulting a custodial officer.

Guss Markwell, her Everett attorney, asked the judge for the low end of the sentencing range, about five years.

“She is someone who needs help getting off drugs, period,” Markwell told the judge.

Bowden said that Mary Clay had her chance with drug court and muffed it. As a result of her arrest for assault and cocaine possession, the terms of her drug court contract mandated that she be found guilty of the earlier drug possession offense. The punishment in that case was 14 months in prison, which she must serve before starting on the seven years owed for the most recent assault conviction.

Hasan Clay was convicted the week before his mother, also in Bowden’s courtroom.

Jurors found him guilty of a home invasion Nov. 30 that terrified a Lynnwood-area family and left two people with gunshot wounds. A pistol was pointed at a man’s chest a split second before the victim deflected the muzzle downward, sending the bullet into his leg.

The victim’s wife was shot in the arm.

Defense attorney Stephen Garvey of Everett told the judge that even the low end of the sentencing range would be a significant prison term, about 34 years.

Clay, 28, was identified and then convicted March 1 after his cell phone was found outside the shooting scene. Prosecutors said he dropped it while fleeing the crime.

Clay blamed Garvey for his conviction, insisting the defense was inadequate. Bowden said that wasn’t so, and that Garvey did a good job of defending Clay.

“Even the best lawyer in the world can’t pull a rabbit out of the hat,” the judge told Clay.

The judge noted that Clay was released from prison two years ago after a conviction for a similar incident in Okanogan County. He agreed with deputy prosecutor Tobin Darrow that Clay is a danger to the community.

“That compels me to lock you up for as long as possible,” Bowden said.

Reporter Jim Haley: 425-339-3447 or haley@heraldnet.com.

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