Man convicted of second-degree murder in deadly chase

EVERETT — A man who ended the life of a nurse while trying to outrun police in a chase from Bothell to Everett was convicted of second-degree murder Thursday.

Joseph Strange, 35, was committing the felony of attempting to elude police when he crashed a pickup truck into a car driven by Rachael Kamin, the jury found.

The nurse was driving home on Mother’s Day 2013 after her shift at Providence Regional Medical Center’s Pacific Avenue Campus. She sustained a fatal head injury and died two days later. She is survived by her husband and two children.

In addition to the felony murder conviction, jurors found that Strange had committed the less-serious offense of first-degree manslaughter. They also convicted him of possessing a stolen vehicle.

Strange faces up to 33 years in prison for the murder conviction when he is sentenced on Jan. 9. Prosecutors also plan to ask for additional time for the stolen pickup truck. Strange has racked up more than a dozen felony convictions since 2003. This is his second strike under the state’s persistent offender law.

Prosecutors had charged Strange with first-degree murder under a seldom used theory that he caused Kamin’s death “under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to human life.”

Jurors were unable to reach a verdict on that count.

Snohomish County deputy prosecutor Tobin Darrow had maintained Strange created a grave risk of death when he hit two cars, ran red lights and drove up to 90 mph on Evergreen Way all in an attempt to escape capture. He was at the wheel of a stolen pickup truck.

Strange’s defense attorney, Donald Wackerman, told jurors that his client was guilty of negligent conduct, warranting a second-degree manslaughter conviction. He said that no one — including pursuing police — could have known that chase would end in death.

Strange shook Wackerman’s hand and thanked him after the verdict was announced.

Strange was under supervision of the state Department of Corrections at the time of the crash. Seven months earlier he had completed a prison sentence for possessing a stolen vehicle.

Diana Hefley: 425-339-3463, Twitter: @dianahefley

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