Small claims case against off-duty trooper who killed intruder dismissed

Charges were dismissed without prejudice in small-claims court on Monday against an off-duty Washington State Patrol trooper who shot and killed a trespasser to his Olalla home.

Trooper Jason Blankers shot the man, Brent Bayliffe, around 11:30 p.m. on Sept. 11, 2010, following an altercation in Blankers’ driveway.

Bayliffe died shortly thereafter.

Blankers was subsequently cleared of any wrongdoing in the incident by the Kitsap County Prosecutor’s Office.

Bayliffe’s death, meanwhile, carried a number of costs, including body transportation and cremation fees of $2,406 and a land plot fee of $1,477.

Bayliffe hadn’t appointed an estate representative to pay those expenses, but his grandmother, 71-year-old Marjorie Eley, says she did it — going into debt to do so.

And she wants Blankers to reimburse her for those fees.

“He made the debt. He needs to pay the debt,” she told Judge Stephen J. Holman during Monday’s court proceeding.

The hearing wasn’t really fair, said Holman, because Eley represented herself and the Washington State Attorney General’s Office represented Blankers.

“You’re completely outgunned at this moment,” said Holman. “You’re going to be swamped by the attorney general in these arguments today.”

Holman, though, said he had no intention of giving legal counsel to Eley.

“I’m not here to help you,” he said. “I’m the referee, not the coach.”

In the end, Holman dismissed the case, saying he had “no jurisdiction over probate cases.”

Eley said that she saw the logic to this.

“I think you’ve been fair,” she said. “You’ve been just.”

But she said she was still upset with Blankers for not showing up for the arguments himself.

“It’s not very manly of him,” Eley said.

“I thought he’d stand up beside me and say ‘I’m sorry I shot this boy,’” she said. “He killed this boy. He should be out here taking responsibility.

“This grandma,” Eley said, “is one heartbroken old lady.”

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