A Seattle man accused of leading state troopers on a high-speed car chase in SeaTac last week was charged with second-degree murder Friday after the 74-year-old pedestrian he struck died from his injuries at Harborview Medical Center, according to King County prosecutors.
Gerald Cowles Jr., 32, served 10 years in prison for raping and molesting an 11-year-old girl and soon after his release in 2017, he was charged and later pleaded guilty to beating and robbing a man in Normandy Park, court records show. He was wanted on a state Department of Corrections escape warrant after either cutting off his GPS monitoring device or letting the battery die in August, according to the most recent charges filed against him.
Cowles was initially booked into the Maleng Regional Justice Center in Kent on Oct. 26 on investigation of vehicular assault, felony hit-and-run, attempting to elude police and unlawful possession of a firearm, court and jail records show. The vehicular-assault charge was amended Friday to second-degree murder after Robert Mauzay, who was found pinned underneath Cowles’ car, died from multiple blunt force injuries, according to the charges and the King County Medical Examiner’s Office.
Mauzay suffered a fractured hip, a fractured knee and a brain bleed; the day before he died, his doctors told prosecutors Mauzay was paralyzed and had limited brain activity, the charges say.
Cowles remains jailed in lieu of $2 million bail, jail records show.
“We would like to offer our condolences to Mr. Mauzay’s family and loved ones for their loss,” Cowles’ defense attorneys, Mark Middaugh and Sarah Wenzel, said in an emailed statement Monday. “As Mr. Cowles’s attorneys, we need time to review the police reports and other discovery materials before making any further comments about the case.”
According to the charges:
Just before 1 p.m. on Oct. 26, a state trooper pulled over a black Dodge Charger for speeding on northbound Interstate 5, just south of Highway 516. The driver gave the trooper two fake names before fleeing north and exiting the freeway onto South 200th Street in SeaTac, the charges say.
The trooper pursued the Charger and saw the vehicle run a stoplight at the bottom of the exit ramp and turn right onto Military Road South, accelerating to an estimated 85 mph in a 35 mph zone. The trooper ended the chase and saw the Charger drive onto the shoulder and run a second red light at South 216th Street, according to the charges.
Once the light changed, the trooper — who by then was joined by a second trooper — continued south on Military Road and found the Charger crashed in the yard of a home on the southwest corner of Military Road and South 220th Street. It appeared the Charger crashed into a tree while trying to make a right turn, the charges say.
Mauzay, who had been out for a walk, was bleeding and unresponsive when the troopers found him. Witnesses at the scene told the troopers the Charger’s driver had grabbed a backpack out of the car and fled on foot. The driver was spotted a short time later in the backyard of a home on 32nd Place South, a dead-end cul-de-sac off of South 220th Street, and climbed over fences and ran through several yards before he was caught and arrested, according to the charges.
The driver was brought back to the crash scene, where he was identified by the trooper who had pulled him over on I-5. The driver refused to provide his name but was identified as Cowles from his fingerprints, the charges say.
Troopers recovered clothes and a backpack that had been discarded as the driver fled the crash scene. A loaded, .22 caliber handgun was later discovered in the backpack and troopers confirmed it had been stolen in Everett last year, say the charges.