Robbery suspect may face murder charges

EVERETT — Detectives expect to recommend first-degree murder charges against an Everett man in connection with the robbery and beating death of a 91-year-old man outside a gas station in August.

The victim, Harold Caywood, died Oct. 4, about six weeks after he was mugged.

Caywood’s death remains under investigation but has been ruled a homicide, Everett police officer Aaron Snell said Wednesday.

Detectives are wrapping up the case and expect to send it to prosecutors soon, Snell said. They had been waiting for the Snohomish County Medical Examiner’s Office to determine what caused Caywood’s death.

Patrick Hartness, 26, remains at the Snohomish County Jail, where he’s been held since August.

Police allege that he attacked Caywood while the older man was walking into a south Everett store to pay for gas. Caywood was punched with brass knuckles, knocked down and robbed.

In September, Hartness was charged with first-degree robbery in connection with the case.

Snohomish County prosecutors Wednesday said they had not seen the final report from the medical examiner. Once they do, they will review the results and discuss whether to amend the charges against Hartness.

Hartness also is suspected in about six burglaries in Snohomish and King counties, all of which targeted older people, Snell said Wednesday.

Investigators believe Hartness identified people in their 80s and 90s to steal their checks and credit cards. In at least one case, he allegedly posed as a maintenance worker to get inside a victim’s home.

Caywood’s family has described the Silver Lake man as tireless and industrious. He served time in the Wyoming National Guard and took up jewelry-making after his wife died.

Reporter Diana Hefley contributed to this story.

Rikki King: 425-339-3449; rking@heraldnet.com.

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