A King County Superior Court jury found a felon with a lengthy criminal history guilty of first-degree manslaughter Tuesday for fatally shooting a 35-year-old stranger in the back in West Seattle in 2012.
Lovett “Cid” Chambers, 69, was charged with second-degree murder in the shooting of Michael “Travis” Hood, who was walking from the Feedback Lounge on Jan. 21, 2012. Hood later died from his injuries.
The lesser verdict also includes a firearm enhancement.
Chambers, who owned a small IT business in West Seattle before his arrest, faces a sentence range of 12 to 14 years in prison, according to the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office.
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During the nearly six-week trial, prosecutors argued that Chambers shot Hood for no apparent reason, while the defense argued that Chambers, who is black, fired in self-defense because he felt threatened by Hood and his friend Jonathan “Jaimie” Vause, both white.
Prosecutor Mari Isaacson said during opening statements in February that Chambers retrieved a .45-caliber pistol from his blue BMW around 9:30 p.m. and then waited outside the bar for Hood and Vause. As they were walking to Vause’s pickup, Chambers trailed them for more than 200 feet, Isaacson said.
Hood then grabbed a shovel from Vause’s truck bed and faced Chambers, Isaacson said. Chambers pulled the gun from his pocket and shot Hood in the back and chest. Hood died at Harborview Medical Center the next day.
Isaacson said that Chambers had been heavily intoxicated before the shooting, and his blood alcohol was measured at 0.20 percent, more than twice the legal limit of 0.08 percent, six hours after the shooting. He also frequently changed his story during interviews after he was arrested about 1½ hours after the shooting, Isaacson said.
Chambers, who has prior convictions for kidnapping, rape and several armed robberies, “created the situation,” Isaacson told jurors in February. “This was not self-defense.”
Defense attorney Lauren McLane said in her opening statements that Chambers acted in self-defense after Hood and Vause followed Chambers and hurled “vile racial epithets at him.” She told jurors Chambers shot Hood to protect himself from being assaulted with the shovel.
Chambers’ experiences in detention as a youth and young adult and later in prison in racially charged atmospheres shaped his view of police as violent and indifferent, McLane said.
She said he suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder because of his experiences, and that because of the disorder he doesn’t remember anything about the shooting.
The jury deliberated for two days, the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office said. A sentencing date has not been set.
Information from Seattle Times archives is included in this story.
Paige Cornwell: 206-464-2530 or firstname.lastname@example.org