News and Press Releases

Defendant Faces at Least 23 Years in Prison

June 17, 2010

DEVAUGHN DORSEY, 36, of Seattle, Washington, was convicted today of witness tampering and discharging a firearm in relation to a crime of violence. The conviction stems from the May 2008, shooting in West Seattle, where a woman and her son were shot in their basement apartment. The jury deliberated about twelve hours following the eight day trial. DORSEY will be sentenced by Chief U.S. District Judge Robert S. Lasnik on September 17, 2010.

“This shooting was an attack on our system of justice, which is the cornerstone of our democracy,” said U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan. “Justice relies on the willingness of our community to appear in court or assist in the search for truth. This verdict sends the message that we cannot allow violence, or threats of violence, to impede the pursuit of justice.”

Prior to the trial, DORSEY pleaded guilty to a multi-count indictment charging him in a car theft and chop shop scheme. Under the terms of that plea agreement, DORSEY faced 13 years in prison. The conviction returned today for discharging a firearm in relation to a crime of violence, mandates a consecutive ten year term. DORSEY faces at least 23 years in prison.

According to records filed in the case and testimony at trial, DORSEY led a conspiracy that stole cars from dealerships, changed the vehicle identification numbers, and then registered the cars in the names of various people -- often single mothers -- to establish a new “clean” title. DORSEY and his co-schemers then sold the cars for profit. In the spring of 2008, law enforcement was zeroing in on DORSEY for various thefts of high end cars. Two of the women who had allowed DORSEY to register the cars in their names were being summoned to the federal grand jury to testify.

Two nights before a West Seattle woman was scheduled to testify at the grand jury, she was shot through the basement window of her apartment as she stood at the kitchen sink and suffered gunshot wounds to her chest and leg. In all, nine shots were fired into the apartment hitting not only the witness, but her 10-year-old son as well. Both recovered from their injuries. Descriptions of the person seen running from the apartment generally resembled DORSEY. Cell phone records confirmed that DORSEY was in a relatively small area around the apartment in the minutes before the shooting. Within five minutes after the shooting, DORSEY made unsolicited calls to police detectives he knew, attempting to establish an alibi that he was miles away on Capitol Hill at the time of the shooting. However, cell phone records revealed that he was in the vicinity of the West Seattle Bridge when the calls were placed. The bridge was DORSEY’s route away from the shooting scene.

DORSEY has a lengthy criminal history, that includes a prior conviction for Attempted Witness Tampering. Dorsey’s adult convictions include the following: (1) assault involving the use of a firearm; (2) domestic violence assault; (3) possession of cocaine - two separate convictions; (4) possession of stolen property (generally cars) - four separate convictions; (5) attempted car theft; (6) attempted burglary of a car dealership; (7) harassment; (8) car theft; (9) thirty-two convictions for driving-related offenses, such as driving with a suspended license; and (10) a variety of convictions for such things as failure to appear, providing false information to a police officer, eluding police, and obstruction.

DORSEY was released from federal prison in late 2007 for a car theft scheme similar to the one he presided over in late 2007 to mid-2008. In the spring of 2008, “he feared returning to federal prison,” Assistant United States Attorney Jill Otake told jurors. “On May 13, 2008, he took matters into his own hands.”

The case was investigated by the Washington State Patrol with assistance from the Seattle Police Department, Kent Police Department, and FBI, and additional assistance from a crime analyst with the Redmond Police Department. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Jill Otake and Marc A. Perez.

For additional information please contact Emily Langlie, Public Affairs Officer for the United States Attorney’s Office, at (206) 553-4110 or Emily.Langlie@USDOJ.Gov.

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