|Update on Rapist Brother Thompson
|Brother Thompson story continues
|Update on Brother Thompson
Tuesday, August 22, 2006
Released rapist faces murder charge
Man already awaiting trial on 14 previous counts
By TRACY JOHNSON
Curtis Thompson walked free when a King County jury decided he wasn't a sexually violent predator, but he was charged with attacking three Seattle women less than a year later.
Now prosecutors say Thompson's alleged August 2004 crime spree involved an even more violent offense: first-degree murder.
The 47-year-old convicted rapist was charged Monday with stabbing to death Deborah Byars on Aug. 23, 2004, in her Ravenna-area apartment.
Thompson is accused of killing the 45-year-old woman mere hours before prosecutors say he attacked two women at a University District apartment complex, robbing one and forcing the other to partially undress.
Thompson -- the only person a Washington jury has declined to lock away as a sexually violent predator after a civil-commitment trial -- will be arraigned on the latest charge Aug. 30.
He remains in King County Jail, where prosecutors have asked that his $5 million bail be doubled.
Thompson is still awaiting trial on the earlier charges -- 14 in all -- including the alleged U-District attack and allegations that he broke into a woman's Eastlake apartment, raped her and tried to destroy the evidence with bleach.
Prosecutors were initially waiting to file the murder charge until Thompson was tried for the other crimes so that the ordeal wouldn't be so drawn out for the victims, Deputy Prosecutor Scott O'Toole said Monday.
But his trial was delayed late last year, when concerns arose about Thompson's mental competency, and again this year, when he fired his attorneys.
O'Toole said Byars' family "has been waiting for this for a while" and noted that Wednesday marks the second anniversary of the woman's death.
Earlier this month, a state psychologist found that Thompson -- though slightly paranoid and "likely to be very challenging to have as a client" -- appeared competent to stand trial. A hearing is set for next week.
His attorney in the earlier charges could not be reached for comment.
A friend who was worried after several phone calls went unanswered found Byars, also known as Deborah McAfee, dead on Aug. 26, 2004. She'd been stabbed three times in the back of the neck and once under her arm, possibly with a screwdriver.
An acquaintance last saw her at 8:30 or 9 a.m. three days earlier.
Police say DNA found under her fingernails matched Thompson's.
Byars' killer had also covered her head with a pillow, something police say Thompson has done in his other crimes.
In court papers, O'Toole called Thompson "an extreme risk" to the community. Thompson has admitted he began committing crimes at the age of 10, when he sexually assaulted several relatives, and he once acknowledged a fear that he might kill someone, according to court documents.
He also showed little remorse when telling a prison psychologist a few years ago that he'd stabbed a young man, leaving him paralyzed, O'Toole wrote.
Prosecutors say Thompson refused to undergo sex offender treatment while in prison.
He was convicted in 1985 of breaking into the homes of women, raping four of them and trying to rape a fifth. At the time, he admitted that he'd committed as many as 200 burglaries and seven rapes.
In 2003, King County prosecutors sought to have him locked away indefinitely at a treatment center for violent sex offenders, but his family and others helped portray him as a man who'd embraced the Jehovah's Witness faith and turned his life around.
Jurors concluded he didn't fit the legal definition of a sexually violent predator who, because of a mental abnormality or personality disorder, was highly likely to reoffend. He was released.
Several jurors later said they were devastated to learn that Thompson was accused of new crimes.
P-I reporter Tracy Johnson can be reached at 206-467-5942 or email@example.com.