SEATTLE – In 21 years of practicing law, Stephan Illa had seen five of his clients sentenced to life in prison – each convicted of aggravated murder.
Add one more: a bank robber who, at least physically, didn’t harm anyone.
Ivy Byrd Gaines, 41, was sentenced Friday to 184 years in prison for 10 robberies, eight of them armed, during which he took $67,000. The sentence was so long, even federal prosecutors called it a “tragedy,” though one of the defendant’s own making.
U.S. District Judge Thomas Zilly expressed some reservations about the length of the prison term, which consisted almost entirely of mandatory minimum sentences Congress has set for using a firearm during a crime of violence.
Gaines was convicted in March of 18 felony counts related to the robberies, which took place between June 2002 and October 2003 at banks, credit unions and check-cashing businesses from Seattle to Lacey, near Olympia. For the first count of using a firearm in a violent crime, he got an automatic seven years; for each additional count, he got an automatic 25 years.
Guild won’t support sheriff in fall election
The King County Police Officers Guild, representing the rank and file of the King County Sheriff’s Office, has voted to support someone other than their new sheriff in the November election.
Over the past two weeks, 436 deputies have cast ballots to determine whom the guild will endorse. The results released Wednesday show that 259 favor Sgt. Jim Fuda and 169 support King County Sheriff Sue Rahr, who has been in the job less than six months. Seattle police Lt. Greg Schmidt received six votes, and two ballots were void.
Fuda, a 32-year veteran who works in the special operations unit, said there is a sense of discontent in the agency of more than 1,000 people. Many of the nearly 653 deputies want change, not a cookie-cutter replica of former Sheriff Dave Reichert, Fuda said.
Tacoma: Falcons on bridge have flown
The fledgling peregrine falcons of Murray Morgan Bridge have taken flight, so state Department of Transportation workers expect to lower the raised span and open the bridge to traffic again this weekend.
The 84-year-old bridge has been up since June 30, when it was raised to allow high-masted vessels from the Tall Ships Festival to come and go from the city’s Thea Foss Waterway. The rickety lift bridge got stuck in the up position, and repair crews couldn’t fix it because they didn’t want to disturb the protected birds until they could fly.
Bird watchers announced Friday that the falcons had flown.
The bridge repair is expected to take only 30 minutes or so, and the span should be open by this afternoon.
An average of 5,000 vehicles a day use the span, which links downtown Tacoma with the industrial tide flats. Most of its users have been detouring over the Highway 509 bridge about a half-mile south.
Kent: Murder charge filed in party shooting
A man has been charged with second-degree murder in the shooting of a former Seattle high school football star during a reported fight between rival gangs at a house party in Covington.
A witness told investigators that Marcus Dane Clarke, 20, of Burien, took “deliberate aim … before shooting” and killing Alefosio Hefa, 19, when a fight developed between rival gangs and guns were drawn during the party, prosecutors wrote in documents filed Thursday in King County Superior Court.
Clarke remained in custody with bail set at $1 million pending arraignment July 19 at the Regional Justice Center.