A 22-year-old man who repeatedly violated a domestic-violence protection order protecting his former girlfriend was charged Wednesday with second-degree murder, accused of fatally stabbing the woman’s new boyfriend in front of multiple witnesses, King County prosecutors say.
In 2017, Austin Cain was convicted of fourth-degree assault domestic violence for assaulting the now 27-year-old woman who he had been dating; since then, he has been convicted seven times on misdemeanor charges and twice on felony charges for violating the no-contact order with her, court records show.
In addition to the second-degree murder charge, which carries a deadly-weapon enhancement, Cain was also charged Wednesday with felony violation of a domestic-violence no-contact order for contacting the woman, who was with Daniel Garl, 38, when Garl was stabbed Aug. 5, charging papers say.
Cain was arrested by state Department of Corrections officers in Belfair, Mason County, on Friday and was transported to Seattle police headquarters before he was booked into jail, where he remains in custody in lieu of $2 million bail, according to jail and court records.
Though the murder charges list Port Orchard as Cain’s last known address, other recent court records list addresses in Seattle and Burien.
“In the present case, the defendant, after following the victim for at least a block, stabbed the victim multiple times in broad daylight in front of several witnesses who were both on foot and in vehicles,” senior Deputy Prosecutor John Castleton wrote in charging papers. “This brazen and senseless attack clearly demonstrates that the defendant is a danger to the community.”
According to the charges:
Just before 9:30 a.m. Aug. 5, firefighters working at Station 5, located at 925 Alaskan Way on Seattle’s waterfront, heard a woman scream for help outside the firehouse. Firefighters found the woman and Garl, the stabbing victim, in the driveway. They began treating Garl and called for additional medical and police assistance.
Garl was transported to Harborview Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead. An autopsy performed the next day showed he died from stab wounds that lacerated his liver and pierced his heart.
The woman identified Cain to responding police officers as the man who had stabbed Garl and said Garl had told Cain, “Just go away from us” before the attack, the charges say.
In an interview with detectives, the woman said she had been in relationships with both men and most recently had been sleeping in a tent with Garl.
Officers obtained video-surveillance footage from the area surrounding the stabbing scene that showed the woman and Garl walking west on Marion Street from Western Avenue, then up a walkway and north toward Madison Street with Cain appearing to trail behind them, say the charges.
“The video appears to show Garl and Cain in a heated discussion as they walk north toward Madison Street,” a detective wrote in charging papers.
The camera’s view was partially obstructed when the three arrived at the intersection of Madison Street and Alaskan Way, but clearly showed the woman crossed Alaskan Way and walked into the parking lot outside Station 5.
Traffic came to a stop as Garl and Cain entered the intersection and Garl appeared to walk away from Cain toward Station 5; Cain quickly followed him and attacked Garl for several seconds before the two men separated, according to the charges.
Garl was seen bent over in apparent pain as Cain ran over to the woman, grabbed her neck, then sprinted off to the south, out of the camera’s view the charges say.
Several witnesses provided statements to police, including a man who had been driving on Alaskan Way and was forced to stop because two men were “tussling” in the road. Though the witness didn’t see a knife, he said after the stabbing, the suspect ran and grabbed the woman’s neck — so the witness hit his air brakes, which make a loud noise, to scare the suspect. The witness told police he was about to get out of his truck with pepper spray when the suspect ran off.
A woman who had just gotten off a water taxi also witnessed the stabbing, and described seeing a man and woman walking toward the fire station while a shorter man appeared to be going the other way. She told police the shorter man suddenly turned around and attacked the other man, trading punches with him then delivering several blows to the man’s stomach area; the shorter man ran away as the man and woman started yelling for help, the charges say.
Garl would have turned 39 on Saturday.
Cain is scheduled to be arraigned Sept. 2.