Bail for the defendant was increased from $1.5 million to $10 million on Monday after he claimed he would take a previously planned trip to Mexico after his mother bailed him out, according to a murder charge filed Monday.
King County prosecutors on Monday charged a 25-year-old Seattle man with first-degree murder, accusing him of stabbing his roommate 60 to 70 times in the Wallingford apartment they shared.
Bail was initially set at $1.5 million for Ian Eugene Flaherty, but prosecutors asked a judge to increase his bail to $10 million on Monday after Flaherty told the court his mother planned to bail him out using her home equity, and that he intended to take a previously planned trip to Mexico later this month, charging papers say.
According to charging documents, Flaherty called 911 just before 12:30 a.m. on March 12 and officers met with him in Seattle’s Sodo neighborhood. Flaherty claimed his roommate, Lalita “Lita” Byrnes, and a male friend got into an argument, but “for some unknown reason, Byrnes and the male then turned their ire on him,” the charges say.
Flaherty claimed Byrnes, 38, attacked him and that the male held a kitchen knife to Flaherty’s neck, so Flaherty fled the apartment, say charging papers. Officers took a report but no further action was taken, say the charges.
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Nearly nine hours later, a friend of Byrnes arrived at her main-floor apartment in a two-story house in the 1300 block of North 43rd Street, where she found the front door open and discovered Byrnes, covered in blood, on the floor of a bedroom, charging papers say.
While researching Byrnes’ address, Seattle police homicide detectives learned of the 911 call made hours earlier by Flaherty, according to the charges. Detectives were still at the scene when Flaherty showed up, pointed out his silver 2005 Dodge Neon to police, and was taken to the homicide office for a formal interview, the charges say.
Police say Flaherty told them he was so afraid when Byrnes and the male allegedly attacked him that he defecated. He said he tossed the soiled pants in a restaurant trash bin near his workplace in Sodo, the charges say.
When officers searched the bin, which had not been recently emptied, they didn’t find the pants, the charges say.
Detectives say Flaherty also told them he purchased a one-day gym membership and used the gym’s showers to clean himself, say the charges, which note video-surveillance footage confirmed that Flaherty visited the gym, according to charging papers.
Detectives also interviewed Byrnes’ brother and mother, the charges say. Her brother told police he’d been at Byrnes’ apartment on March 11 when she told Flaherty she wanted him to move out and asked him to sign something acknowledging the notice of eviction, according to the charges.
Byrnes rented the apartment and sublet a bedroom to Flaherty, police say.
Byrnes’ mother told detectives Byrnes wanted Flaherty to move out because he wasn’t paying his share of expenses — and the mother suggested Byrnes “put something in writing and have him sign it,” say charging papers.
Police got a search warrant and seized Flaherty’s car, where they found blood stains inside, the charges say. Swabs were sent to the Washington State Patrol Crime Lab and a mix of Byrnes’ and Flaherty’s DNA was found on two doors and Byrnes’ blood was found on the rocker panel of the driver’s door, the charges say.
An autopsy revealed that Byrnes had been stabbed more than 60 to 70 times.