Billy Chambers - one of three teenagers who pleaded guilty in 2008 to the senseless and savage killing of beloved street performer Edward " Tuba Man" McMichael - has done it again. And again. And again.
Since being released after serving 18-months for his role in killing McMichael (and another robbery the same night), the Seattle Times reminds us in its latest unflattering write-up that Chambers has been arrested five times, and convicted of crimes on two separate occasions.
Chambers is now 19. Last week he was - you guessed it - arrested again, picked up on suspicion of a car prowl and unlawful possession of a firearm. Though a judge has questioned the search that resulted in police finding an assault rifle in Chambers' trunk - the weapon at the heart of the unlawful possession allegation - he was held with $50,000 bail for the car prowl police initially pulled him over for.
King County Prosecutor's Office Spokesperson Dan Donohoe tells the Times unlawful possession charges are still a possibility.
It's the latest disturbing (though sadly unsurprising) chapter in what so far has been a book with no redeeming value, other than to raise questions about the justice system and its ability to rehabilitate young offenders.
And it raises the same questions it always does when Chambers' name starts getting printed on new batches of court documents, with new criminal allegations attached to them.
The fates of McMichael and Chambers tangled near Fifth Avenue and Mercer Street around midnight on Oct. 25, 2008, when Chambers, 15 at the time, and four other teens robbed and attacked McMichael as he crossed the street toward the group. The teens, who had just left a dance at Seattle Center, circled him and rained down a series of blows and kicks, robbing him as he tried to shield himself, even slipping a ring off his finger. Initially, he survived the attack. But on November 3 he died.
What followed was an outpouring of public outrage: both at the killing of a gentle, vulnerable man, swarmed upon and beaten as he lay in a fetal position on the ground, and the minimal 18-month sentence given to Chambers, who's been in and out of trouble ever since.
The case pushed important questions normally debated in the insular juvenile-justice community into the public arena: When is it too late to rehabilitate a child criminal, and when is it time to crack down in the interest of public safety?
It's a question Walczak devotes much effort to answering, and results in a feature story that - given the circumstances - is as worth reading today as it was the day it was published.