Alleged masked attacker faces Tuesday verdict

By Rob Ollikainen
Peninsula Daily News

PORT ANGELES — A Sequim man who deputies say wore a clown mask when he allegedly assaulted a woman who was riding a bicycle on the Olympic Discovery Trail last summer will face a verdict on several charges Tuesday.

Spencer J. Silva, 23, is charged with five crimes in two incidences in August 2011 and July 2012, the latter of which involved the attack of a 22-year-old cyclist on the multipurpose trail near Sequim.

Superior Court Judge S. Brooke Taylor presided over a two-day bench trial that concluded late Wednesday.

Taylor told Silva, who remained in the Clallam County jail Saturday on $300,000 bond, that he would issue a ruling at 3 p.m. Tuesday.

In the alleged cyclist assault last summer, Silva is charged with second-degree assault with a deadly weapon with intent to commit a felony with sexual motivation, first-degree attempted robbery and unlawful imprisonment in that incident.

Clallam County sheriff’s detectives said Silva knocked the woman off her bicycle at about 8:30 a.m. July 21 where the trail meets Runnion Road in Carlsborg.

Silva allegedly jumped on top of the woman and held her down, court papers said; the victim was able to fight off the masked attacker, and Silva fled in a small blue car.

Authorities found a large knife at the scene.

A surveillance video led to Silva’s arrest last September.

Silva also was charged Sept. 6 with residential burglary and voyeurism in the opening of a Sequim-area teenager’s window as she slept in the early morning hours of Aug. 26, 2011.

Investigators said the 17-year-old awoke to find her bedroom window screen removed, the window open, blinds lifted and a male looking at her.

The girl told investigators that the man stared at her for about 30 seconds before he fled.

Silva allegedly returned to the girl’s residence about a half-hour later. He told a responding deputy that he had taken a wrong turn.

Silva, who matched the girl’s description of the peeping Tom, was arrested for investigation of residential burglary and voyeurism.

Charges were never filed in 2011 because of a lack of evidence, prosecutors said at the time.

County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Ann Lundwall wrote in charging papers that Silva committed the assault, unlawful imprisonment, residential burglary and, by definition, voyeurism with sexual motivation.

Lundwall presented the logic behind each of the five charges in her closing argument Wednesday.

“His intent was to go after a young woman [on the trail] on that date for a sexually motivated attack, i.e., gratifying his sexual desires,” Lundwall told the judge.

“He was there wearing a Halloween mask, carrying with him a very distinctive, elaborately carved, almost ritualistic knife,” she said.

“I would submit to the court that the defendant was in the process of acting out some kind of personal fantasy, and unfortunately, [the victim] intruded.”

Lundwall said the woman in the ODT attack has a “strong physical resemblance” to the girl in the voyeurism case.

“I would submit that, as to the Olympic Discovery Trail incident, [the victim] happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time and, unfortunately, looking like a person that the defendant had a fixation on,” Lundwall said.

Defense attorney John Hayden of Clallam Public Defender challenged the argument that Silva was fixated on the teen, describing the claim as “bizarre.”

“It comes from, I would suggest, a troubled imagination,” he said.

Lundwall said in her rebuttal argument that “bizarre is walking down the Olympic Discovery Trail at approximately 8:30 in the morning wearing a Halloween mask carrying basically this elaborately decorated knife.”

Hayden challenged the sexual-motivation allegation in the bicycle incident.

“There’s nothing sexual about this,” he said.

“The state talks about he’s in this fantasy because he’s wearing a mask to protect his identity and he has a knife at one point? That doesn’t make it sexual, except maybe in somebody’s imagination.”

Silva took the stand earlier Wednesday and testified on cross-examination that he attacked the cyclist because he thought she may have been carrying cash or an iPod.

“This is a mugging, judge,” Hayden said.

“Mr. Silva is trying to be a crook; he’s trying to be a thief, and he’s absolutely no good at it.”

Hayden said his client in 2011 was trying to steal a laptop that was near the window of the girl’s bedroom. He said Silva displayed no sexual arousal while doing so.

“He didn’t do anything except freeze and run away,” Hayden said.

“In this case, it’s not innocence in the sense that Mr. Silva acknowledges guilt of certain crimes; it’s innocence of what the state is alleging: the sexual motivation and voyeurism that the court has to reject.”

Hayden added: “We have here two random, really inept attempts at being a thief, both failed, both acknowledged. And that’s that.”

________

Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5072, or at rollikainen@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: January 19. 2013 5:32PM
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