Convicted man flees courtroom

By Scott North

Herald Writer

Benjamin Dean Hennigan seems to have a problem staying put.

The 30-year-old Lynnwood man was convicted Tuesday of bail jumping and attempting to elude police for an April 2000 car chase with a Snohomish County sheriff’s deputy.

But not long after the jury announced its verdict, Hennigan allegedly was on the move again, bolting from Superior Court before he could be escorted to jail.

Judge Ronald Castleberry has issued a no-bail arrest warrant, and Hennigan likely will face additional charges, deputy prosecutor Matt Hunter said Friday.

"Now he is looking at first-degree escape and third-degree assault, potentially," Hunter said.

Hennigan’s dash from the courthouse began at about 4:30 p.m. Tuesday. The jury had announced its verdict, and had been sent back into the deliberation room while the judge scheduled a sentencing date, Hunter said.

The defendant had been free on bail while awaiting trial. He pleaded to remain out of jail while awaiting sentencing, telling the judge that he wanted one more chance to hug his children, Hunter said.

Castleberry vetoed the idea, however, saying he believed the man was a flight risk. Under state sentencing guidelines, the defendant faced a mandatory sentence of 1 1/2years in prison because a firearm was in his possession during the April 2000 car chase.

Hennigan began emptying his pockets and removing jewelry in preparation for being taken to jail, while a county marshal waited nearby. Castleberry left the bench, and the lawyers went to talk with him in chambers.

That’s when there came a loud thumping from inside the courtroom, Hunter said. When lawyers rushed back into the courtroom, they found that Hennigan had knocked down the marshal and tossed a metal coat rack across an aisle to cover his escape.

The man then raced from the courthouse, eluding police, who launched an immediate search. The incident is under investigation by the Everett Police Department.

The marshal Hennigan reportedly grappled with received a bump on his head, Hunter said.

Hennigan is described as white, 6 feet tall and 180 pounds. He has brown hair and brown eyes. If anyone spots him or knows of his whereabouts, they should call 911, Everett police Sgt. Boyd Bryant said.

If anyone has an idea where he may be, Bryant urged them to call the Everett police tip line at 425-257-8450.

"Anytime someone is on the run from the law, it is better to let the police detain them than to try to make a citizen’s arrest," Bryant said.

You can call Herald Writer Scott North at 425-339-3431

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