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Prosecution alleges link between burglaries, stabbing

Accused burglar and slasher Isaiah Lawrence Shepherd has been shuffled once more.

Thanks to a few surprise requests from the prosecutor’s office, Shepherd’s status hearing has been rolled over yet again — this time to Jan. 28.

Shepherd, 18, appeared in court Thursday on a series of charges. According to the prosecutor’s office, Shepherd broke into two South Kitsap homes then, while out on bail, attacked two other men with a knife during a New Year’s Eve party.

Deputy prosecutor Andy Anderson says the two sets of crimes are related and, on Thursday, asked for the cases to be joined and tried before a single jury.

The prosecution is alleging the following:

Shepherd and several other men burglarized or plotted to burglarize two South Kitsap homes — one in August and one in October. Shepherd, who was just starting his senior year at South Kitsap High School, was arrested in November. However, be made bail and was released Nov. 17 to await trial in January.

On New Year’s Eve, Shepherd went to a party in South Kitsap, where he saw a man who was scheduled to testify against him in court on the burglary charges. The prosecution alleges the two got into a fight and, when two of the potential witness’ friends tried to intercede, Shepherd stabbed them with a hunting knife.

Anderson has therefore asked a charge of intimidating a witness be added to the roster of crimes pending against Shepherd.

“The assault arose out of the defendant’s anger that the victim was cooperating with law enforcement,” Anderson said.

Shepherd’s defense attorney, Jacob Murphy, objected to the new charge. He said there was no evidence Shepherd had actually made threats to the potential witness. The victims of the stabbing, Murphy said, were the only ones who made official statements to police, and they are not involved in the burglary case.

Even if the prosecution does successfully add the intimidation charge, Murphy added, he does not feel capable of creating an appropriate defense against this new charge by the trial, currently scheduled for Feb. 3. If the charge were added, Murphy argued, Shepherd’s constitutional right to a speedy trial would be in jeopardy.

“I don’t see this happening within the speedy trial clock,” which expires Feb. 11, Murphy said.

Anderson said the request to join is mostly one of simple economy.

He maintains there is a legal link between the two cases and said, if the cases do end up going before separate juries, the juries would end up hearing nearly the same evidence anyway.

“It just makes sense to have one trial instead of two trials,” Anderson said.

Shepherd remains in custody on one count of second-degree assault with a deadly weapon and two counts of residential burglary. His bond release on the burglary charges has been revoked. The bail for his assault charge has been set at $30,000.

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