A man convicted in a 2003 gang shooting in South Park has appealed his case all the way up to the state Supreme Court, with his lawyer claiming that witnesses mistook the accused for an "evil doppelganger" nicknamed Wedo Loco.
The man, 33-year-old Charles Weber, is currently locked up in the Monroe Correctional Complex, serving life without parole. The incident that put him behind bars took place early in the morning of March 18, 2003, during a party at an apartment on the 11400 block of Des Moines Memorial Drive. According to court documents and police reports, members of the Varrio Loco (VL) Sureño gang picked a fight with an ex-gang member named Gabriel Manzo-Vazquez.
One of the gangsters asked Manzo to step outside. When Manzo refused, a short, skinny, bald white guy nicknamed "Güero Loco" pulled out a large, silver semi-automatic pistol. Manzo fled to his SUV, and as he made his getaway, Güero Loco (translation: "crazy whitey") aimed the pistol with his left hand and squeezed off eight shots. The driver was unscathed except for a graze wound on his stomach.
Manzo told police the shooter's nickname, and mentioned that the man had a 206 tattoo on his neck. Local law enforcement just happened to know a gang member fitting that description. Charles Weber has 206 tattooed in two-inch letters across the back of his neck. He also goes by the nickname Wedo (a bastardized spelling of güero) Loco, which is inked on his knuckles; he has other tats linking him to the gang.
Upon seeing photos of Weber, Manzo, who estimated he'd drunk nine beers on the night in question, said he was "80 percent sure" Weber was the shooter. Later, during the trial, Manzo pointed out Weber from the witness stand and said he was certain. Weber was convicted. In prison he committed an assault, his third strike, which led to the life sentence.
Now, court-assigned attorney Mike Kahrs is convinced Weber was wrongfully accused. Initially a skeptic, Kahrs was swayed by several inconsistencies never brought up by Weber's public defender during the original trial. Among other things, Manzo said the shooter initially introduced himself as Güero Loco or Boxer. Two other witnesses remembered a person at the party named Güero Loco/Boxer with a 206 neck tattoo. Weber has never gone by the nickname Boxer. This "Boxer," Kahrs claims in one court filing, is Weber's "evil doppelganger."
Kahrs is working the case pro bono, and still taking shots in the dark to track down a gang member named Boxer with the Seattle area code tattooed on his neck.
"We're trying to get help from good citizens of Seattle to identify this person," Kahrs says. "I was told he got the 206 tattoo, but he's not from around here. He's originally from either Southern California or Mexico, but he got it out of respect. He's probably 5-foot-7 or 5-foot-8, with a thin build, and left-handed probably. I heard a rumor that he used to be a boxer, but I don't really know."