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Passenger in killer’s truck on trial
A scared teen fearing for her life after watching Washington State Trooper Tony Radulescu shot at point blank range; or, the friend of a killer who lied to police in an effort to save the fugitive?
It’s the main question that 12 jurors will eventually ask themselves in deciding the fate of 19-year-old Port Orchard resident Megan Mollet.
Mollet is charged in Kitsap County Superior Court with rendering criminal assistance in the first degree, a felony, to help Joshua Blake. Mollet was sitting in the passenger seat in Blake’s pickup truck when he leaned over her to shoot Radulescu Feb. 23 during a traffic stop in Gorst, killing the trooper instantly.
According to court documents, Blake ordered Mollet to “roll down the window and turn your head.”
Along with the felony charge, Mollet is also accused of lying to police, a gross misdemeanor. She faces a maximum sentence of ten years in prison and a $20,000 fine.
An earlier charge of manufacture of methamphetamine was dropped.
At the trial’s opening Tuesday, neither Kitsap County Deputy Prosecutor Tim Drury nor Mollet’s defense attorney Jonathon Morrison debated the fact that Mollet witnessed the killing of Radulescu and then later lied to a Kitsap County Sheriff’s Deputy about knowing Blake. Where the defense and prosecution differed, however, was why she lied to police.
“Her lies were under duress,” said Morrison. “She was in the wrong place at the wrong time in a nightmare she had no control over.”
The prosecution asserted that her lies were a direct attempt to conceal Blake, to help a friend.
After the trooper was shot, Blake and Mollet fled to a residence at 3700 Schofield Rd. in Port Orchard. According to the defense attorney, Mollet stumbled out of the car at the residence and proceeded to head inside and cry herself to sleep. Blake left the scene to a home in Belfair and later to a house off Mullenix, where he ultimately shot himself. But while the manhunt ensued for Blake, a Kitsap County Sheriff’s Deputy contacted Mollet at the house on Schofield Road.
It was then that Mollet lied to police. According to the prosecution’s certification for probable cause document, the sheriff’s deputy asked Mollet where she had been the night before. Mollet said she was helping a friend move and went to sleep around 11 p.m. She told the detective about not knowing anything about Radulescu’s death. According to the document, when asked if she knew Josh, Mollet responded that she knew a lot of Joshes. According to the prosecution, Mollet was also shown a picture of Josh and she denied knowing him.
“During the contact with this defendant she lied,” Drury said. “She lied and told the officer she didn’t even know Josh Blake, didn’t even know who Josh Blake was.”
“She lied for Joshua Blake,” Drury said. “She lied to help Joshua Blake, to conceal him from police officers.”
But Mollet’s defense attorney claims her lies were made in attempt to save herself. She had just witnessed a traumatic, horrific event, Morrison said, and felt threatened for her own life by Blake. Morrison claimed that Blake, a man Mollet knew through her father, had quickly turned into an unrecognizable person for Mollet after he shot Radulescu. Morrison said that Blake told Mollet, “You say one thing and you will die, too.”
Mollet is one of six people charged with rendering criminal assistance to Blake, including Blake’s former girlfriend, 32-year-old Jessi Leigh Foster.
Mollet’s trial was expected to last four days and finish today, with a verdict coming sometime afterwards. Mollet was expected to take the stand during the trial, along with a handful of law enforcement agents and a Pierce County medical examiner.
Members of Mollet’s family declined to speak Tuesday. Ray White, Mollet’s brother-in-law, told the Port Orchard Independent in February that he agreed Mollet was too traumatized after witnessing the shooting to know what to do.
“She didn’t ask for any of this,” White said. “She didn’t do anything.”