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‘Tuba Man’ killer charged with robbery again

tubaSEATTLE — A 16-year-old who admitted killing Seattle’s “Tuba Man” may have struck again — in a robbery that shares similarities to the attack that left the beloved musician dead on a Seattle street.

The teen served just three months behind bars for the manslaughter case.

Now he has again been charged with second-degree robbery, according to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, less than a year after being sentenced.

Court documents obtained by the P-I show the alleged robbery in January was similar to the 2008 attack on Edward McMichael, known to generations of Seattle sports fans for playing outside arenas.

Police say the teen’s crime also bears resemblance to another robbery that occurred the same night McMichael was attacked.

The teen was charged with second-degree robbery in that attack, but the charge was amended to the manslaughter case as part of the guilty plea agreement in McMichael’s death.

Police are still on the hunt for the 16-year-old.

Police have not released his photo and Q13 FOX News does not typically name juvenile suspects unless they are charged as adults.

“We don’t believe we have a basis for an adult prosecution,” said Dan Donohoe, spokesman for King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg. “However, if he’s convicted we plan on seeking an exceptional sentence above the standard range.”

On Jan. 22, the 16-year-old approached another teenager at the Garfield Teen Life Center and asked him for $5. The victim, 17, said he didn’t have the money and while waiting to have his picture taken for a center identification card was again approached.

The accused youth was with four teens. He again asked for $5, police said.

After the victim repeated that he didn’t have the money, group members checked his pockets and one said, “It feels like you have an iPod or something in your pocket,” according to an incident report.

The group then walked away.

Police say the teens surrounded the victim after he walked outside the Garfield Teen Life Center at 428 23rd Avenue.

“One of them went into (his) pocket and took his MP3 player,” Detective Mikel W. Rideaux wrote in court documents. “Someone else then punched (the victim) in his mouth, and another person took his wallet.”

The teen from the Tuba Man case and the others then ran back into the Teen Life Center, according to police. A staff member there advised the victim to report the incident to police.

In juvenile court, second-degree robbery carries a range of 15 to 36 weeks detention – a range the Legislature set. The other teens have not been arrested charged, but police say the investigation continues.

“We believe this is a serious matter, and we plan on seeking an exceptional sentence above the range,” Donohoe said.

In the Tuba Man case, the teen charged this month was given credit for roughly 24 weeks in custody and spent three months in juvenile detention after sentencing.

“I could have said some really harsh things about how we really felt about what they did,” McMichael’s older brother, Kelsey, said Monday. “But we’re non-violent people. I just kind of said the family was happy that the whole thing was over, and hopefully they would change.”

But obviously one didn’t, he said.

The accused teen was 15-years-old during the Oct. 25, 2008, attack on McMichael, and police say he also robbed another man that night.

In the incident with the other man, police say a group of young men approached and asked for $5 — the same setup as the January incident.

The teen was charged with second-degree robbery for the earlier incident with the man, but that charge was amended to the manslaughter case as part of the plea agreement in McMichael’s death.

Prosecutors had tried to move the earlier robbery case against the teens to King County Superior Court, where they would have been tried as adults and faced much stiffer penalties. A juvenile court judge denied the motion.

Before McMichael’s beating, the group of teens had joined other youths at Seattle Center for a gathering related to a homecoming dance. There, prosecutors assert, they were part of a roving group of teens that set about making mayhem before the attack on McMichael.

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 a 1979 Sonics NBA World Championship ring — one given to McMichael from a friend — off his left hand.

The 53-year-old was taken to Harborview Medical Center and released to recover at his Vermont Inn apartment, a place packed with Seattle sports memorabilia.

McMichael died of brain trauma the on Nov. 3, 2008.

The teen charged in the most recent robbery case and the two other teens — all 15 during the attack — pleaded guilty to manslaughter. Police and prosecutors asked on several occasions for witnesses to come forward, but found no witnesses willing to testify at trial.

Announcing the teens’ plea in 2009, Satterberg said the sentences were, in his view, “unsatisfactory.”

“But it is the law,” he said at the time. “Without (the teens’) willingness to step forward, this case likely would have remained unsolved.”

In court, Kelsey McMichael asked that the teens receive only the agreed-upon sentencing recommendation: 15 to 36 weeks for the teen now accused in the January case and twice that for the other teens, who were 16 at sentencing.

Told about the recent robbery case and same sentencing guideline, Kelsey McMichael was disappointed.

But perhaps he isn’t surprised. He said prosecutors told the family they expected at least one of the three teens to reoffend.

“It looks to me like Washington is too lenient,” he said.

A native of the Seattle area, Edward McMichael played in the Bellevue Philharmonic and the Cascade Symphony before taking his tuba — and a hard hat or wild Dr. Seuss cap — to the Kingdome in the 1980s.

During games at KeyArena and the University of Washington, McMichael would often be let in to watch and about a half-hour before the contests ended, he’d walk back to the sidewalk and blow a standard, such as “Iron Man” or “Tequila.”

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