J eff Baird, a meticulous senior King County deputy prosecutor renowned for Sherlock Holmes-like analytical skills, was known for handling some of the most high-profile homicides.
He would later take center stage as the lead prosecutor in the Green River killer case that had haunted the region for years. Hotspurs at p. She then went to two more clubs in Auburn, leaving the last one about 1 a. Stacy once had lived in the same apartment complex. But after hearing gunfire one night, Musga encouraged her to move in with him until she and Jake found a safer place. But even after she moved out, Stacy kept relying on Engquist to babysit Jake. That night, Stacy picked up her son at the usual time for a night out, Engquist told detectives. She generally seemed happy with her life and relationship with Musga, Engquist added.
Jake was the center of her world, and Stacy never would intentionally put him in danger, she said. At a. Back at the crime scene, detectives had finished processing the evidence. Phone records showed Stacy had received an incoming call just a few hours before she was killed. It came from a number that traced back to a Des Moines man. Everything seemed thrown into slow motion that moment, and somewhere, lost in it all, Vianne heard herself screaming. One block went by, then two. Her legs carried her along the main road through town as cars and trucks buzzed by her.
Vianne wondered if she should throw herself into traffic. Six blocks away, at a boarded up shop, she stopped.
On a deck behind the building, where no one could see her, she screamed before she slumped down, sobbing. Holm, 27, volunteered to talk with detectives.
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He told them he was home with his wife in the neighboring town of Des Moines, during the time frame Stacy and Jake were killed. But Holm had been taking early-morning classes at Green River Community College, carpooling to school with a friend.
His alibi seemed solid, Leyerle thought. They wondered how Holm, who worked at a grocery store and did car detailing on the side with his brother, could afford to drop big money on a girlfriend. Police suspected Holm was dealing marijuana.
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The work put food on the table and covered rent, but afforded little else. With his seemingly expendable income and outgoing personality, Holm offered something different. After he and Stacy dated in mid, he took her boating and gave her expensive gifts. When Stacy found out, she stopped seeing him. Still, Holm and Stacy kept on friendly terms, even as her relationship with Musga grew more serious.
But a few days later, Leyerle and Wilson started having second thoughts. The doubts emerged after another body turned up, this time in Tacoma. The victim had been choked and repeatedly stabbed, then wrapped in blankets and left in the back of an abandoned pickup truck. M ourners packed the Skyway Baptist Church that day, with people spilling into the foyer. Vianne and her family sat in the front row during the memorial service.
They were in mourning, but also on alert. Detectives planned to attend the service, too — in plain clothes, just in case. For hours, they sat outside the church in an unmarked van parked nearby, snapping photographs of each person coming and going. They also cautioned Vianne to watch out for strangers or anyone giving off bad vibes. A few days earlier at the Renton Police Department, detectives had asked Vianne if she knew whether Stacy had any enemies.
Stacy had visited him once at the state prison in Monroe. Vianne also wondered whether the killer might have mistaken Stacy for someone else.
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She told detectives that Stacy had a cousin who also was a petite brunette about the same age. After the memorial service, Vianne and her family members formed a greeting line to thank those who came. Vianne forced herself to make eye contact with every person who approached her. The look of him made her nervous. She felt a chill run down her spine.
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Investigators also learned from phone records that Holm had called Fields three times on the day he was last seen alive. On Nov. He later denied killing Holm, claiming Holm never showed up for their planned meeting. Police found blood inside the apartment. They also found baggies of cocaine, methamphetamine and other drug paraphernalia.
Prosecutors soon charged Fields with first-degree murder, theft and two felony drug counts. Detective Wilson soon paid a visit to the King County Jail, where Fields was held while awaiting trial.
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In mid-June , less than two months before Fields was set to stand trial, he and his court-appointed lawyers raised a new defense strategy: Fields admitted he killed Holm, but argued he did so in self-defense. Fields claimed he and Holm had been in business together, with Holm supplying him large amounts of marijuana to sell.
When Holm showed up at his apartment, Fields claimed Holm demanded his cut of the drug money and pulled a gun. Fields said he struggled with Holm, the gun fell onto his kitchen table and fired a round. Fields said he then grabbed a kitchen knife and repeatedly stabbed Holm. He was a drug dealer with federal narcotics convictions. He also had ties to Crips gang members from his hometown of Compton, California. Or, he could be telling the truth. Whichever, the claims were now the hottest lead Renton detectives had in trying to figure out who killed Stacy and Jacob.
Chapter 9 Questions that haunt. The ashes of her daughter and grandson had been lain to rest in Renton months earlier.
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During the day, Vianne tried to occupy herself with work, running the cafe and managing the building that housed it — anything to keep her mind from meandering back to Stacy and Jake. The dearth of information was maddening. Vianne turned to Ken Boyes, a police sergeant in the neighboring town of Raymond who once dated her sister Frankie. Boyes reached out to a Renton detective to ask about the rumor.
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They were sitting on a bench outside when Boyes told her: Stacy probably was holding Jake at the time he was shot. Vianne fixated on the detail. Of course, she thought. Stacy was trying to protect Jake until the very end. The case colonized her mind. Vianne turned to therapy for help. A counselor diagnosed Vianne with post-traumatic stress and prescribed her anti-anxiety medication and sleep aids. Vianne felt emotionally and physically drained. What little sleep she could get was shallow and haunted by dreams. In the good ones, she reunited with Stacy and Jake in a complete state of joy.
In the nightmares, Vianne saw faces of friends and relatives heckling her, intimating they knew more than they were letting on. Vianne could never answer her phone in time. Stacy and Jake seemed to die a different death every night. Months passed. Her phone talks with detectives slowed, then stopped. As the first anniversary of the killings approached, a reporter called and asked Vianne about the toll taken on her family.
V incent Fields stuck with his self-defense story through the rest of his murder trial — and it paid off.
On Aug. The verdict spared Fields a possible life sentence or worse. The detective again wondered whether Fields simply made up the story.