KING COUNTY, Wash. — After backlash and hundreds of emails, King County Prosecuting Attorney Dan Satterberg explained why the case against a teen, charged with the hit-and-run death of a jogger in Maple Valley, will stay in juvenile court.
“Juvenile court exists for a reason, and it exists for 15-year-old girls who do stupid things. She didn’t intend to kill anybody. There’s no proof of that at all. The proof is she intended to bump him, and we all know how incredibly dangerous that is,” said Dan Satterberg, King County’s prosecuting attorney.
Greg Moore was running next to the road in Maple Valley on July 18 when he was hit and left to die. Detectives identified a teenage girl who they said was driving her godmother’s Toyota Camry.
The 15-year-old is charged with second-degree murder and felony hit-and-run in juvenile court.
“I know the death of Greg Moore has touched a lot of people in our community because it was so senseless. He was a great person beloved by many,” said Satterberg.
Witnesses told investigators she hit him on purpose and laughed.
The victim’s wife wants her charged in adult court. “It’s a ‘thrill kill’ is what it’s called,” said Michelle Moore, Greg Moore’s wife. “It’s asinine to me that they’re claiming that she wanted to bump him? She was going 50 miles an hour. That’s not a bump; that’s death.”
Detectives think it’s possible the teen hit another man on the side of the road in the Seatac-Des Moines area the day before.
King County Councilmember Reagan Dunn asked the prosecutor to reconsider his charging decision. He sent a letter on Tuesday.
“This is a dangerous, intentional, deliberate striking of people at a great speed with a car, and that’s dangerous,” Dunn told KIRO 7 on Tuesday.
But Satterberg said it’s not that simple. While the prosecutor can decide whether to charge a teen who is 16 and older as an adult, it is a judge who makes that decision for younger defendants. The prosecutor would seek a decline hearing, and the judge would decide whether the case moves to adult court.
“In this case, I do not believe we have any of the requisite proof to support going to adult court, so I didn’t ask the judge to do that. To me, if I ask for a judge to do something that I know isn’t supported by the law, that’s a political move, and I’m not going to do that with this case,” said Satterberg.
He is saving it for the most egregious cases, with the most violent offenders who need to be tracked well after they turn 21. The King County Prosecutor’s Office is working to put two cases with 15-year-old defendants into adult court.
In February 2020, detectives said a 15-year-old nearly stabbed the owner of a Kenmore convenience store to death. Investigators said the teen was angry when he wasn’t allowed to buy vape products and came back with a butcher knife.
In June 2019, Renton police said a 15-year-old followed a woman off the bus and beat and raped her for hours in a park near the Cedar River.
“Those are very different from a 15-year-old who is joyriding in a car without permission and thinks that they can get close enough to people to bump them and annoy them. It’s a prank, and it’s a very different case. I see it, and I think most people who take a moment will see the difference between the two of them,” said Satterberg.
Satterberg said if the teen is convicted, he will seek the maximum sentence of five and a half years.
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