Saturday, October 15, 2011

One of Tuba Man’s Killers Goes to the Big House, but for a Mere 22 Months for Attempted Murder


Gone, but not forgotten: Murder victim Edward McMichael, better known as "Tuba Man"

[Note to readers: Billy Chambers was not charged with "attempted murder," but he did in fact try to murder his victim not once, but twice. Unfortunately, he once again benefited from criminal justice affirmative action, which is more than can be said of his victims.]

Teen who killed 'Tuba Man' sentenced to prison
By Levi Pulkkinen, Seattle
October 14, 2011 at 5:58 p.m. PDT

SEATTLE - One of three teens convicted of killing Seattle’s “Tuba Man” was sentenced to 22 months in prison Friday for an unrelated assault and car crash.

Billy G. Chambers, 18, previously pleaded guilty to attempted second-degree assault and hit-and-run charges related to the June 23 crash, during which Chambers intentionally rear-ended a woman stopped at a Central District stop light.


Racist baby-faced killer, Billy Chambers
Chambers was among the teens who attacked Edward McMichael – a well-known street musician known as the “Tuba Man” who'd long been a fixture at Seattle sporting events – in October 2008 near Seattle Center.

McMichael, 53, died from his injuries after being released from the hospital. After prosecutors found themselves unable to find cooperative witnesses and a juvenile court judge refused to try the boys as adults, Chambers, then 15, and the other teens pleaded guilty to manslaughter and were sentenced to short stints in juvenile detention.

Friday afternoon, King County Superior Court Judge Joan Dubuque sentenced Chambers. As they agreed to do in a plea agreement with Chambers, prosecutors requested the young man be sentenced to 18 months in prison.

On June 23, Chambers was behind the wheel of a mid-1990s Crown Victoria when he rammed another car stopped at 23rd Avenue East and East Jackson Street. The woman driving the other car told responding officers Chambers was angry that she earlier told police Chambers stole from her.

Following the initial accident, both cars headed north on 23rd Avenue. Chambers pulled alongside the victim’s car and rammed it a second time from the side.

The woman lost control of the car and hit a tree, while Chambers fled but was arrested later that day. He initially told police his cousin had his car and that he’d been sleeping all day.

Initially charging Chambers with second-degree assault and hit and run, Senior Deputy Prosecutor Amy Montgomery noted that the teen seems to have no respect for the law or the safety of others.

“While it is fortunate that no occupants of the car or pedestrians were injured, it does not lessen the risk that the defendant’s violent actions could harm someone,” Montgomery said.

Before McMichael's Oct. 25, 2008, beating, the group of teens had joined other youths at Seattle Center for a gathering related to a homecoming dance. McMichael was near a bus stop in the 500 block of Mercer Street when the accused teen and several others started beating him. One punched him so hard, the musician fell and hit his head on the concrete, police said.

They grabbed his wallet, and one pulled off a 1979 Sonics NBA World Championship ring, given to McMichael from a friend.

McMichael was taken to Harborview Medical Center and later released to recover at his Vermont Inn apartment. McMichael died there of brain trauma on Nov. 3, 2008; a public memorial at Qwest Field Event Center drew about 1,500 people.

For taking part in the beating, Chambers was sentenced to 15 to 36 weeks in juvenile detention. Since then, he’s been convicted of theft twice, including a felony conviction in January that saw him sentenced to eight months in jail, and arrested on suspicion of robbery, assault and unlawful bus conduct.

Chambers has been jailed since the June 23 crash. He will now be transferred to the Department of Corrections for his first stay in prison.

[Thanks to my man in Seattle, “BR,” who first alerted me to the racist Tuba Man murder back in 2008, and to reader-research “W,” who alerted me the same year to the racist murder of James Paroline, also in Seattle, and who both sent me this story, an hour apart.]

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