Will Cascade Mall shooting suspect Arcan Cetin get the death penalty?

Arcan Cetin, 20. Image: KIRO 7 News

Arcan Cetin, the man charged with killing five people at the Cascade Mall in Burlington, about an hour and 20 minutes north of downtown Seattle, is being held on $2 million bail.

Many people have asked: Will he get the death penalty?

It’s possible, but not likely.




Right now, Cetin is charged with five first-degree murder counts in Skagit County District Court. The case is expected to be moved to Skagit County Superior Court within 30 days, and those new Superior Court charges could be aggravated first-degree murder. That aggravated factor is what’s required for the death penalty in Washington.

Related: Cascade Mall shooting suspect charged with 5 counts of murder

However, Gov. Jay Inslee, who is running for re-election and leading in polls, said in February 2014 he was suspending the use of the death penalty in Washington. Inslee said he hoped that would enable officials to "join a growing national conversation about capital punishment."

Skagit County Prosecuting Attorney Richard Weyrich said Monday he was not ready to talk about potential aggravated first-degree murder charges.

In context, the last three aggravated first-degree murder cases in Washington ended with life in prison instead of the death penalty. They were Joseph McEnroe and Michele Anderson, who killed six members of Anderson's family on Christmas Eve 2007, and Christopher Monfort, who killed Seattle Police Officer Timothy Brenton on Halloween 2009.




It took more than eight years for Anderson and McEnroe to be convicted, and nearly six years for Monfort to be convicted. The death penalty was off the table for Anderson after jurors did not sentence McEnroe to death.

Had any of the three received the death penalty, their executions would not have been immediate.

Currently there are nine people on Washington’s death row. Here are details about each of their cases.

1. Jonathan Lee Gentry: Convicted June 26, 1991 of fatally bludgeoning Cassie Holden, 12, on June 13, 1988 in Kitsap County.

2. Clark Richard Elmore: Convicted on July 6, 1995 of one count of aggravated first-degree murder and one count of rape in the second degree for the rape and murder of Christy Onstad, 14, the daughter of his live-in girlfriend on April 17, 1995 in Whatcom County.

3. Dwayne A. Woods: Convicted on June 20, 1997 of two counts of aggravated first-degree murder for the murders of Telisha Shaver, 22, and Jade Moore, 18, on April 27, 1996 in Spokane County.

4. Cecil Emile Davis: Convicted February 6, 1998 of one count of aggravated first-degree murder for the suffocation/asphyxiation murder of Yoshiko Couch, 65, with a poisonous substance after burglarizing her home, robbing and then raping her January 25, 1997 in Pierce County.

5. Dayva Michael Cross: Convicted June 22, 2001 for the stabbing deaths of his wife Anouchka Baldwin, 37, and stepdaughters Amanda Baldwin, 15, and Salome Holle, 18 in King County on March 6, 1999.

6. Robert Lee Yates, Jr.: Convicted September 19, 2002 of murdering Melinda Mercer, 24, in 1997 and Connie LaFontaine Ellis, 35, in 1998 in Pierce County.

7. Conner Michael Schierman: Convicted April 12, 2010 of four counts of aggravated first-degree murder in the deaths of Olga Milkin, 28; her sons Justin, 5, and Andrew, 3; and her sister, Lyubov Botvina, 24, July 16, 2006 in King County.

8. Allen Eugene Gregory: Reconvicted May 15, 2012 of first-degree aggravated murder for the rape and murder of 43-year-old Geneine "Genie" Harshfield on July 26, 1996 in Pierce County. Originally convicted and sentenced to death on May 25, 2001, Gregory's case was overturned by the Washington Supreme Court on November 30, 2006. The original charge was upheld in a retrial and the death sentence was reissued on June 13, 2012.

9. Byron Scherf: Convicted May 9, 2013 of aggravated first-degree murder for the murder of Correctional Officer Jayme Biendl on Jan. 29, 2011 while she was on duty at the Washington State Reformatory Unit of the Monroe Correctional Complex in Snohomish County.

Related: See a timeline of the Cascade Mall shooting and the manhunt for the shooting suspect.

Information from The Department of Corrections is included in this report.

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