As­sault vic­tim can’t be found

Charge in shoot­ing is dropped against an Ar­ling­ton man who said he fired at a bur­glar in self-de­fense.

The Daily Herald - - FRONT PAGE - By Diana He­fley Her­ald Writer

AR­LING­TON — Car­men Sco­leri says he is breath­ing eas­ier now that Sno­homish County pros­e­cu­tors aren’t try­ing to put him in jail.

Pros­e­cu­tors re­cently dropped an as­sault charge against Sco­leri — some three years af­ter the 67-year-old Ar­ling­ton man fired a shot­gun at a flee­ing bur­glar. Pros­e­cu­tors al­leged that Sco­leri was out­side his le­gal rights when he shot the man from be­hind. The would-be bur­glar was hit in the legs. The im­pact broke bones.

Sco­leri re­cently told The Her­ald he shot the man in self-de­fense. Some­one fired at him af­ter he in­ter­rupted a bur­glary at his son’s prop­erty, Sco­leri said. He be­lieved the man he shot was armed. Sco­leri was pre­pared to ar­gue his case in front of a jury.

“I wanted to go to trial. The jury would have seen this was self­de­fense,” he said. “I didn’t shoot some home­less man from be­hind for no rea­son.”

Pros­e­cu­tors dis­missed the sec­ond-de­gree as­sault charge be­cause they haven’t been able to find the shoot­ing vic­tim, ac­cord­ing to court doc­u­ments. They aren’t able to pro­ceed to trial without his tes­ti­mony, Sno­homish County deputy pros­e­cu­tor Kather­ine Wet­more wrote.

“The state has no fur­ther in­for­ma­tion about the lo­ca­tion of (the man) who is tran­sient with no known ad­dress and at this time

has no abil­ity to lo­cate him,” she added.

The shoot­ing hap­pened June 28, 2013, but Sco­leri wasn’t charged un­til early 2015. That’s be­cause the vic­tim was dif­fi­cult to track down, ac­cord­ing to court pa­pers. He was home­less then, too, and liv­ing out­side Sno­homish County.

Ac­cord­ing to court pa­pers, he and about seven others had been re­cruited in 2013 to break into Shawn Sco­leri’s med­i­cal mar­i­juana-grow­ing op­er­a­tion off Car­pen­ter Road. Shawn Sco­leri is a vet­eran grower who op­er­ated a med­i­cal mar­i­juana dis­pen­sary in Seat­tle. He has been vo­cal about le­gal­iz­ing mar­i­juana and eas­ing reg­u­la­tion of the new in­dus­try.

The mas­ter­mind be­hind the heist at Sco­leri’s grow was a for­mer as­so­ci­ate who felt he had been wronged and was out to get re­venge, ac­cord­ing to court pa­pers.

The bur­glars were told dif­fer­ent sto­ries about why they were break­ing in and were promised a re­ward for their help. They came from south King County and “found that they had bit­ten off more than they could chew,” Sno­homish County deputy pros­e­cu­tor Chris Dick­in­son wrote in the charg­ing pa­pers.

The house was heav­ily for­ti­fied with se­cu­rity cam­eras, alarms and iron bars on doors. The band of thieves was un­suc­cess­ful in bust­ing down the door. The ruckus set off a se­cu­rity alarm. Car­men Sco­leri lives nearby and was alerted to the break-in.

When he pulled up, the men scat­tered. Two of them jumped into a ve­hi­cle and headed for the drive­way. Car­men Sco­leri’s pickup was block­ing their exit. The driver swerved into some brush, lost con­trol and crashed into a fence.

Car­men Sco­leri said the driver tried to run him down.

Pros­e­cu­tors al­leged the Sco­leri shot one of the would-be bur­glars as the man was run­ning away. The man re­port­edly told po­lice that Sco­leri walked up to him and asked, “How does it feel to get shot?”

Sco­leri dis­putes the man’s claims. He said he was headed back to his pickup when some­one took a shot at him. He said he then saw a man turn to­ward him with what ap­peared to be a gun. He shot the man. The shot­gun, he said, had been left be­hind by the bur­glars.

“I asked him, ‘Who fired that shot?’” Sco­leri said.

He was afraid of the others so he drove off.

A neigh­bor who heard the com­mo­tion called 911. Po­lice found the wounded man ly­ing on the ground. The of­fi­cers rounded up sev­eral other would-be thieves hid­ing in the woods and brush. While they were in­ves­ti­gat­ing, Sco­leri’s at­tor­ney called pros­e­cu­tors and ar­ranged for him to sur­ren­der. He drove back to the mar­i­juana grow and was ar­rested.

The wounded man was taken to Har­borview Med­i­cal Cen­ter in Seat­tle, where he spent sev­eral weeks and un­der­went surg­eries.

Sco­leri won­ders why the men who tried to break into his son’s prop­erty aren’t be­ing held ac­count­able for their ac­tions. They also were be­hind a bur­glary at an­other one of his son’s prop­er­ties prior to the in­ci­dent on Car­pen­ter Road, he said.

“I don’t know why they didn’t pros­e­cute these peo­ple,” he said. “These crim­i­nals are still walk­ing free. They should have been pros­e­cuted for this home in­va­sion. I’m the one that was caught in the mid­dle.”

Sco­leri said he is a Viet­nam War vet­eran, who served in the U.S. Army. He has suf­fered from post trau­matic stress dis­or­der ever since, the Ev­erett na­tive said. The shoot­ing and three years of le­gal un­cer­tainty have ag­gra­vated his symp­toms, he said.

“I’m just glad it’s all over. I’ve fi­nally been able to breath again,” Sco­leri said. “I just don’t want peo­ple think­ing I shot some­one from be­hind.”

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