Second trial for Terrace man

A jury deliberated all Thursday afternoon about the fate of a man who allegedly fired two shots at Mountlake Terrace police officers after his car crashed in 1996.

Abdul Hassan Jones, 25, has been in prison since his conviction in 1997 of first-degree assault and other charges, but the state Supreme Court earlier this year gave him another chance at freedom.

The high court overturned his convictions, saying that the jury should have heard evidence about a city police shooting board review in his first trial.

In a trial that started this week, jurors heard testimony from a parade of police officers about the evening of Aug. 4, 1996, when Jones allegedly tried to drive away from pursuing police vehicles and crashed into a cement light standard on Lakeside Drive near Lake Ballinger in Mountlake Terrace.

A lot is at stake for Jones, who was sentenced to about 22 years in prison, and would have to resume his sentence if he is convicted again.

He’s charged with one count of first-degree assault, being a felon in possession of a firearm, attempting to elude a police vehicle and failing to return from a jail furlough.

Jones had received a 12-hour furlough from the Snohomish County Jail on July 30 so he could help his mother move.

Even though he was scheduled to end his 11-month jail term six days later on Aug. 5 that year, he didn’t return. Mountlake Terrace police tried to make a traffic stop the evening of the shooting, leading to the standoff and exchange of shots.

Deputy prosecutor Chris Dickinson told the jury Thursday that the evidence is clear that Jones "is the one who shot at the officers. He’s the one who shot first."

Officers fired a shotgun and several rounds from their pistols from relatively close range after they said Jones fired and then would not get out of his wrecked car. Dickinson said it was a miracle that nobody was hurt by the gunfire.

Dickinson played a tape of the police dispatcher’s radio traffic, including panicked calls that shots were fired.

"This a powerful piece of evidence, ladies and gentlemen. And it backs up the testimony," Dickinson told jurors.

Damian Klauss, Jones’ defense attorney, argued that it was not a miracle that police weren’t hit by his client, because Jones didn’t fire any shots.

There was evidence that the gun, a cheap .22-caliber pistol, had a broken mechanism and would not fire. The jury is trying to unravel whether the pistol was damaged before or after Jones finally threw it out of the car window and gave himself up.

Klauss suggested that somebody tampered with the gun and later planted a couple of spent .22-caliber cartridges that were fired from the same weapon.

In short, Klauss told the jury the police played fast and loose with evidence because they fired shots at Jones, and his client didn’t shoot. And that’s a story Dickinson said was impossible.

"That’s ‘X-Files’ materials," the prosecutor said. "That’s like Keystone Kops appearing on ‘The X-Files.’ "

Reporter Jim Haley: 425-339-3447 or

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