Split verdict in bicycle assault, voyeurism case

By Rob Ollikainen
Peninsula Daily News

PORT ANGELES — Spencer J. Silva, the Sequim man who attacked a bicyclist on Olympic Discovery Trail last summer and opened a teenager’s bedroom window as she slept in August 2011, received good news and bad news Tuesday.

The 23-year-old was found guilty of second-degree assault with a deadly weapon, first-degree attempted robbery and residential burglary.

However, Clallam County Superior Court Judge S. Brooke Taylor found Silva not guilty of voyeurism and dismissed the sexual-motivation enhancements to the other charges.

Silva will be sentenced at 9 a.m. Feb. 19 in Clallam County Superior Court.

He is being held in the Clallam County jail on $300,000 bond.

Taylor also found Silva not guilty of unlawful imprisonment because it was not proven beyond a reasonable doubt, he said.

“What I did find was that the unlawful imprisonment was an integral part of the assault in the second degree and the attempted robbery in the first degree,” Taylor said.

When Clallam County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Ann Lundwall asked for clarification on the unlawful-imprisonment charge, Taylor said he would issue a written opinion “very quickly.”

Taylor scheduled a Feb. 5 court hearing on the legal issues of merging charges and jeopardy related to the bicycle attack.

Woman on trail

Silva was accused of knocking a 22-year-old woman off her bicycle on the ODT multipurpose trail just west of Railroad Bridge Park in Carlsborg the morning of July 21.

The woman fought off the attacker, who was wearing a clown mask, by kicking and screaming until neighbors arrived to scare Silva away.

Clallam County sheriff’s investigators found a 7-inch knife at the scene of the attack. The weapon, which was not used in the assault, contained DNA samples matching Silva’s, they said.

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

Teen’s bedroom

In the 2011 incident, Silva was accused of reaching into the window of a bedroom occupied by a 17-year-old Sequim-area teenager and opening the blinds at about 1:45 a.m.

Silva maintained in a two-day bench trial that he intended to steal a laptop computer to support a methamphetamine habit.

The girl woke up and made eye contact with Silva. He was arrested about a half-hour later when he returned to the same house.

While there was a “very strong inference” that Silva acted with a sexual motivation, Taylor said, there was “not sufficient evidence to establish a sexual motivation beyond a reasonable doubt.”

As for the voyeurism charge, Taylor said there was no proof that Silva gazed at the teen for “the purpose of arousing or gratifying Mr. Silva’s sexual desire.

“Again, there is circumstantial evidence that would suggest that, but it does not rise to the level of proof beyond a reasonable doubt,” Taylor said.

After announcing the verdict, Taylor said he was “profoundly impressed” by the courage and strength displayed by both victims during the incidents and while testifying in court.

“Secondly, I think it really needs to be mentioned that this case got resolved as a result of exceptional investigative work by members of the Clallam County sheriff’s department,” Taylor said.

After the hearing, defense attorney John Hayden of Clallam Public Defender said the case was overcharged.

Lundwall was not immediately reachable for comment.

________

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

Last modified: January 23. 2013 5:42PM
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