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Michael Washington

Other Washington Exonerations
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On October 23, 2005, 55-year-old Susan Huntley woke up in her bedroom in Lynnwood, Washington and discovered a youth wearing a black hooded sweatshirt standing near her bed. When she asked what he wanted, he reached for her face and they struggled. The youth fled through an open sliding glass door. Police collected a piece of duct tape from a windowsill as evidence. Huntley suffered a bruise under her left eye and a bump on her lip.

On November 13, 2005, 34-year-old Jeannie Priser, who lived less than two blocks from Huntley, answered a knock on her front door at 3:25 a.m. A youth wearing a blue hooded sweatshirt rushed in and grabbed her in a bear hug. Priser struggled and yelled, and the youth fled.

Two days later, police created a composite sketch based a description given by Priser. Lynnwood officers believed the sketch resembled 16-year-old Michael Washington, who lived in Lynnwood. A photographic lineup was assembled with Washington’s photograph and Priser identified him as the youth who assaulted her.

On November 22, 2005, police arrested Washington. After denying he was involved in either of the crimes, Washington ultimately confessed that he entered Huntley’s and Priser’s homes “for the thrill of it.”

On November 29, 2005, Washington was charged with residential burglary with sexual motivation for the incident at Huntley’s home. On December 23, 2005, after the prosecution threatened to charge him as an adult with multiple counts of first-degree burglary, Washington pled no contest in juvenile court to the charge of burglary with sexual motivation. He was sentenced to 1 year in the Naselle Youth Camp, a medium security facility in the Washington Department of Corrections.

Police later determined that two similar crimes occurred after Washington was arrested.

On December 2, 2005, a 15-year-old girl awoke to find a young male wearing a dark hooded sweatshirt standing over her bed. The youth put a hand over her mouth, said he had a gun, and asked if she was a girl or a boy. When she said she was a boy and ran out of the room, the youth fled.

On December 27, 2005, a young woman awoke to find someone pulling the sheets off of her. A young male then jumped on top of her. The youth pulled off her underwear, but the woman fought back and pushed the youth away. He then fled.

Based on the reports, Lynnwood police asked Washington to submit to a polygraph examination. When asked about the crimes against Huntley and Priser. Washington denied involvement. According to the polygraph examiner, Washington “showed no deception.” Washington also voluntarily gave a sample of his DNA at that time.

The Washington State Patrol Crime Lab analyzed the duct tape recovered from Huntley’s residence. Both male and female DNA were found on the tape, and the analysis revealed that Washington’s DNA was not present.

On February 3, 2006, Snohomish County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney John Stansell filed a motion to vacate Washington’s conviction. The motion was granted and the charge was dismissed.

Washington filed a lawsuit seeking compensation from the state of Washington, and in February 2014, he was awarded $11,242.

– Maurice Possley

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Posting Date: 8/8/2017
State:Washington
County:Snohomish
Most Serious Crime:Burglary/Unlawful Entry
Additional Convictions:
Reported Crime Date:2005
Convicted:2005
Exonerated:2006
Sentence:1 year
Race:Caucasian
Sex:Male
Age at the date of crime:16
Contributing Factors:Mistaken Witness ID, False Confession
Did DNA evidence contribute to the exoneration?:Yes*