Jury convicts Tacoma man in death of his boss
Herald news services
TACOMA — A 24-year-old man could face the death penalty after he was convicted of shooting his boss four times in the back of the head.
Prosecutors said Covell Thomas killed Richard Geist, 26, in March 1998, and stole $5,000 from him. Thomas worked for Geist’s cleaning business.
Jurors convicted Thomas on Tuesday and will return to Pierce County Superior Court on Nov. 14 to decide whether to give Thomas the death penalty or life in prison.
Thomas’ lawyers admitted that he had planned to rob his boss, but said there was no evidence that Thomas planned to kill him or followed through.
Edward Rembert, accused of being an accomplice, will stand trial for aggravated first-degree murder. But because he was only 17 at the time, he will not face the death penalty if convicted.
Thomas’ and Geist’s families wept in the courtroom as the verdict was read.
"He was a good baby. He was a good boy, and he was a good man," Geist’s grandmother said.
Geist’s aunt said she was relieved by the verdict.
"There’s going to be some closure for my sister and her family," she said. "But I’m not relieved that my nephew is gone."
Both women asked not to be identified.
Fire chief resigning: Seattle Fire Chief James Sewell announced Wednesday that he will resign in mid-January to pursue a career in church service. Mayor Paul Schell praised Sewell for the work he has done since joining the fire department in 1997. "Running a fire department the size of Seattle’s, in a city as complex and diverse as ours, is an extremely demanding job," Schell said. A seminary student since March, Sewell will begin a pastoral internship in late January. He’s applied to serve at Canyon Hills Community Church in Bothell. Schell said he plans to name an interim chief and conduct a nationwide search for a permanent replacement.
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Donor gives vehicle video cameras to police: An anonymous donation has made it possible for Port Angeles to place video cameras in four city police cars. The camcorders cost about $6,000 each and are expected to be installed within the next couple of weeks, according to Jack Lowell, crime prevention officer for the Port Angeles Police Department. The cameras, which have night-vision capability, will record traffic stops and drunken-driving sobriety tests and will also be available to document crime scenes.
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