When the King County, Washington prosecutor’s office filed first-degree murder charges against 53-year-old Edward Motley, Jr. in the beating death of a man identified as Wesley Benson, 60, some of the details in this case probably should not have surprised anybody.
At the time of the slaying, according to court documents obtained by Conservative Firing Line, “the defendant committed this murder while on community custody warrant status for a first-degree robbery conviction.” When he was arrested, the document continues, “the defendant still had an outstanding DOC (Department of Corrections) escape warrant for not reporting after being released from prison.”
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Motley, it appears, is no model citizen. He has been in trouble with the law frequently over the past 35 years. The court document described him as a fellow who “has amassed an extensive and alarming criminal history in Washington, including a total of 13 felony convictions.”
The only time he appears to have been crime free was when he was behind bars.
As for crime, Motley appears to have been going for some sort of record. In 1985, he was sacked for “taking a motor vehicle without permission.” That’s auto theft in layman’s terms.
In 1986, he was popped for second-degree burglary. In 1987, he was convicted of failure to return to work release. In 1991, he was nailed for third-degree assault (amended down from “Robbery-2”).
In 1993, Motley was nabbed for possession and delivery of cocaine. In 1995 he was convicted for illegal possession of a firearm, which he repeated three years later in 1998.
In 2007, he was in trouble for assault in the third degree. In 2009, he was popped for violating the controlled substance act. In 2012, his troubles included first-degree robbery and motor vehicle theft.
In all that time, it doesn’t appear Motley killed anybody. Until now, according to the charges against him.
He is presumed to be innocent of the accusation until convicted in a court of law.
But his record raises a question. About 25 years ago, Washington voters passed “Three Strikes and You’re Out,” a law that took repeat felons off the streets for good. This was a measure that seemed tailored to someone with the suspect’s criminal behavior pattern.
In August 2013, Motley was sentenced t 129 months in prison, plus 18 months of something called “community custody.” He got out of prison in March of this year, and apparently it didn’t take him long to be back on the wrong side of the law.
The prosecutor’s office says he poses a significant danger to the community, and he is also a flight risk.
Benson, the victim, was beaten on June 26. He lingered until July 9, when he was declared brain dead.
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A court will determine whether Motley is found guilty of Benson’s killing. Considering his record, if the suspect had been behind bars instead of on “community custody,” Benson might still be alive.
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