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Prosecutors charge 2 with aggravated murder in videotaped attack

Post by Stacey Mulick / The News Tribune on March 31, 2011 at 3:16 pm |
March 31, 2011 3:53 pm

Pierce County prosecutors have charged two men with aggravated first-degree murder in connection with the torturing of an unidentified man that was captured on camera.

Michael Edward Crosman, 25, was arraigned on the charge this afternoon and ordered held in Pierce County Jail in lieu of $5 million bail. Lakewood police arrested Crosman on Wednesday night.

A warrant has been issued  for the arrest of Maalo Semu Samaota, 30.

Prosecutors allege Crosman videotaped a young man who’d been bound and gagged with duct tape and was tortured with a knife, court documents state. The tape is 19 minutes long. Samaota is alleged to be the attacker.

Crosman told detectives the victim had stolen a vehicle that contained drugs. The attack was payback, charging documents state.

A disc containing the videotaped attack was dropped off at the Spokane Police Department in February.

Detectives believe the remains found earlier this month off a hiking trail at Harts Lake are the victim but are waiting further investigation, Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist said. The remains were discovered March 10 and have not yet been identified.

The Pierce County Medical Examiner’s Office watched the video. There were several similarities between the young man and the victim found at Harts Lake, court documents state. Both wore the same “Grim Reaper” T-shirt, wore two silver rings and had the same hair.

The arrest was the culmination of a months-long investigation into a tip about a possible homicide, Lakewood police Lt. Dave Guttu said. He declined to comment further.

Aggravated murder is the state’s highest crime and carries with it only two possible sentences – capital punishment or life in prison without the possibility of release. Lindquist said it’s too early to say whether the death penalty will be sought against in this case.

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