This is one of those documents that doesn't need immediate interpretation, only immediate transcription and wide attention. It was written yesterday by Seattle police detective James L. Cooper and made public today:
On November 22nd 2010, at approximately 1037 hrs, in the City of Seattle, County of King and the State of Washington, Joseph M. LaMagno was walking on E. Union Street in Seattle. LaMagno was returning to his residence at [redatcted]; he had been grocery shopping. In the 1400 block of E. Union Street, LaMagno was approached by the defendant, Michael J. La-Rosa. The defendant was carrying a short camping axe.
The suspect, La-Rosa, approached LaMagno and struck him with the axe, knocking him to the ground. Numerous witnesses, some of whom were children released from school early because of snowfall, watched as La-Rosa continued to strike LaMagno in the head with the axe multiple times. LaMagno did not move from where he had fallen. He died quickly from the repeated blows to his head. When police later arrived, his feet were on the sidewalk, but his torso had fallen to the side. The straps to his shopping bag were still around his arm. There was no evidence that showed the victim even had time to defend himself from the attack.
Witnesses began to call 911 to report the attack. After the attack the suspect turned and began to walk away. The suspect heard and saw SPD police cars coming into the area. La-Rosa threw the axe to the ground and continued to walk away from the victim. Uniformed officers saw La-Rosa, who matched the description given by 911 callers. When officers gave La-Rosa directions to stop he turned into a nearby alleyway and continued to walk away from the officers. Officers stopped La-Rosa and took him into custody. La-Rosa was also wearing a backpack on his person when he was stopped. The arresting officers read La-Rosa his Miranda warnings at the time of his arrest and he acknowledged in the affirmative that he understood them. When questioned by the arresting officers regarding the assault La-Rosa told them that he attacked the victim with an axe. The scene was secured and SPD Homicide detectives responded to the scene. The arresting officers were directed to transport La-Rosa to the Homicide unit for further questioning.
At the SPD Homicide unit La-Rosa was again advised of his Miranda warnings and he stated he understood them before being interviewed. When his backpack was turned over to the homicide detectives, suspected blood and brain tissue were observed on it. An examination of the suspect's clothing also showed possible suspected blood spatter on them. These items were later collected for evidentiary purposes.
La-Rosa told detectives that he is homeless and stays at the local shelters in the downtown area of Seattle. The night prior to the attack on LaMagno, he had rode Metro buses and even sat in a local "Denny's" restaurant to stay out of the weather. On the morning of the 22nd the suspect stated that he had been at a local grocery store and was attempting to buy groceries but he discovered he did not have his food stamp card. At that point he left the store and began to walk around in the area because he was feeling "physically" sick and needed fresh air. La-Rosa was asked if he ever had met the victim he stated he did not. When asked if he saw the victim at the store, he was not sure. La-Rosa then stated as he was walking he thought the victim had been following him from the store. He stated that at one point he thought the victim was behind him and then ahead of him and then next to him.
At that point the victim looked at him and La-Rosa stated the victim said to him, "I gave your sister herpes, without having it!" La-Rosa stated the victim then "smacked" him and stated, "What are you going to do about that!" La-Rosa told detectives he usually carries his axe in his backpack but on this morning he was walking with it in his hand. La-Rosa told detectives, "I don't know what came over me because I've never done murder you know." La-Rosa was asked what happened after the victim struck him and he stated he hit him with the axe he was carrying. He did not recall where he struck the victim but when asked for clarification on the number of strikes he replied, "many times." Detectives asked La-Rosa why he had an axe with him he told detectives that he had purchased it because he was tired of staying at shelters and he was going to camp in the woods in the area. When asked why he was carrying the axe in his hand at the time of the attack he stated he was trying to find some woods to try it out at. La-Rosa asked if he recalled being arrested and he stated he did. He said he heard sounds of arriving police cars and began to walk away. When he saw the officers he tossed the "weapon" and attempted to walk away. When he was asked why he did that he stated he was scared because he had "just killed a guy" and he did not think "the cops would understand" his story. La-Rosa was asked if he had any questions for the detectives and he asked if he was going to jail then to prison now.
La-Rosa appeared to be completely sober and was questioned about his mental health and he told detectives that he has been diagnosed as being schizophrenic and Bi-Polar. He was asked if he used drugs or alcohol and he stated that he used Methadone that he would buy off the street but he has been "clean" for several weeks. When asked if he is currently taking medication for his mental health issues he stated he has been prescribed medication but chose not to take it because it does not make him feel good and he did not like the side effects. He also explained how he hears voices in his head and the voices state that people are giving him and his family diseases. He state he hears the voices whether he is on medication or not. He stated his case worker as "Sound Mental Health" told him the "voices" are actually "intrusive thoughts." He said he had seen a number of counselors in the past but he had been trying to quit going to counseling. La-Rosa stated that his family resides in Florida and he has no family or friends in the Seattle area. He said he moved from Florida to Seattle to be with the woman who became his common law wife. He said he no longer lived with her. He said his wife had obtained a restraining order against him because he had struck her.
On November 21, 2010 detectives attended the autopsy of LaMagno at the K.C. Medical Examiner's office. During the autopsy detectives estimated that the victim had suffered at least ten blows to the head during the assault.