Teen 'Tuba Man' killer charged with robbery

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by OWEN LEI / KING 5 News and KING5.com Staff

KING5.com

Posted on April 7, 2010 at 11:08 AM

Updated Wednesday, Apr 7 at 6:20 PM

SEATTLE – A 16-year-old boy who spent just three months behind bars after being sentenced for killing Seattle's "Tuba Man" in 2008 is now charged with a new crime, second-degree robbery.

According to probable cause documents, Seattle Police say on Jan. 22, the suspect approached a 17-year-old boy at the Garfield Teen Life Center at 428 23rd Avenue and asked for $5. The victim said he didn't have the money and then went inside the center.

A few minutes later, the victim says the suspect approached him again, this time accompanied by four juvenile males. The suspect again asked for five dollars. When the victim said he didn't have the money, the group checked his pockets. One of them allegedly said "It feels like you have an iPod or something in your pocket." The group then left.

A couple minutes later, police say the victim went outside and was approached and surrounded by the group. "One of them went into (the victim's) pocket and took his MP3 player," wrote Det. Mikel W. Rideaux. "Someone else then punched (the victim) in the mouth and another person took his wallet."

The group that attacked the victim then ran into the Teen Life Center. Police say they left the center after a staff member advised the victim to report the incident.

The suspect was reportedly taken into custody Wednesday morning in the 2700 block of Yesler Way. He will be arraigned Thursday morning in King County Juvenile Court.

KING 5 News typically does not name juvenile suspects unless they are charged as adults. King County Prosecutor's Office spokesman Dan Donohoe tells Seattlepi.com that he doesn't believe there's a basis for prosecuting the teen as an adult in this case.

Second-degree robbery in juvenile court carries a range of 15 to 36 weeks. Prosecutors plan to ask for more jail time, and a juvenile court judge has the jurisdiction to hold a child until he or she is 21 years old, said prosecutors.

"I think the facts that surround Mr. McMichaels' death and the involvement of this individual really mitigate a substantial sentence, even in juvenile court," said King County Chief Prosecuting Deputy Mark Larson.

Edward McMichael, 53, also known as "Tuba Man," was robbed and severely beaten at a bus stop near Seattle Center in October 2008. He died about a week later. The suspect in the January robbery was one of three teens who pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter in McMichael's death. Because of their age and the fact they had no prior criminal history, they could not be charged as adults.

In announcing the plea deals, King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg said because there were no witnesses who came forward, he could not move forward with the case without the guilty pleas. After being given credit for time served, the suspect in the January robbery spent roughly three months behind bars for the attack on McMichael.

McMichael was a fixture at sporting events, whether it was before a Seahawks game, a Sonics game or a Mariner's game - even outside McCaw Hall on opera nights. He would play his tuba and wear amusing hats.

Some of Tuba Man's most memorable hats are displayed on the wall of Shane Quinn's restaurant. They tell you McMichael is not forgotten. That's why hearing what happened with one of the teens who killed McMichael angers Quinn.

"A juvenile can go two directions at that point. They can change their life.  Obviously this kid did not make much of an adjustment," said Quinn.

McMichael's brother, Kelsey, told KING 5 News, "I really think that prior bad acts from this kid should be brought into a trial just to show the character of this individual and how dangerous he is to society."

"It sounds like he's gotten off too easy as a result of his attack on Ed."

The teen will be arraigned in King County Juvenile Court on Thursday morning.

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