The Senseless Murder of Mikarah Sanders
First published January 6, 2010
Republished January 8, 2010
For the family of 17 15 year old Mikarah Sanders, New Years Eve will never be the same.
This young woman was gunned down December 31st, allegedly by her boyfriend Matthew DaWayne DuBois, 16 years old.
You may have not heard too many details about this case, for a few reasons, but namely because both parties were minors, and news media doesn’t release the name of minor victims of violent crime until either a family member does, or the victim is identified in public documents. Mikarah was identified as of January 5th by the King County Prosecutor’s office in the charging documents (which are public record, a copy can be found at the bottom right of this site) filed against her alleged killer.
Likewise the media does not use the names of juveniles accused of a crime until or unless they are officially charged. Mikarah’s alleged killer, DuBois was charged today, and as an adult.
Initial reports that night showed that both DuBois and Sanders were shot by an unnamed Black male suspect who fled the scene.
Within hours though, investigators said they were not looking for a mystery gunman, that they believed DuBois had shot Sanders before shooting himself.
A bit more complicated than that.
According to the charging documents from the King County prosecutor’s office, the young couple got into an argument over a comment posted on Mikarah’s myspace page by an ex-boyfriend. The argument turned physical, with pushing and shoving between the two, before DuBois [allegedly] pulled out a hand gun and pointed it in Mikarah’s face- then fired.
A witness in the apartment rushed into the room and says she found DuBois on top of Mikarah, asking her if she was okay. Mikarah was not moving. She’d been shot once in the face from less than 1 foot away.
The witness went to a room across the hall. Shortly thereafter DuBois went across the hall as well, and the witness watched as he shot himself in the shoulder and ordered the witness to say someone had come into the home and shot Mikarah. The witness agreed and in fact did tell authorities that someone else had come into the home and fled on foot.
Police found Mikarah on the bottom bed of a bunk bed set, partially face down, completely unresponsive. She died a few hours later at Harborview, probably while you and I were still celebrating the New Year without a care.
Reading through the documents, there are many upsetting details that I take issue with (and will probably write about later). But none greater than the details of the suspect, Matthew DuBois.
At the tender age of 16 DuBois was an experienced criminal with more than seven convictions under his belt, 3 of which were felonies. From unlawful possession of a fire arm, to residential burglary to tampering with a witness. He is also facing assault charges for a previous case in Juvenile court.
Due to the nature of his crime, his efforts to throw investigators from the truth by shooting himself and lying in his statement, on top of his criminal record, led prosecutors to seek bail in the amount of 1 million dollars and rightfully so.
But in the nine page document there are 2 sentences which changed my entire perception of this girl’s death:
“On November 13, 2009, a Judge found that the defendant was a “threat to community safety” and detained him in the Alder facility. The court then authorized Electronic Home Monitoring, which the defendant was on at the time he committed the murder.”
Go ahead and let that sink in.
This young man was identified by the court system as a threat to community safety- he was locked up because of it…and then he was let out.
What kind of a system deems a person a threat to other people and then lets them out of jail?!
I suppose it’s just a coincidence that just over a month later, this threat to community murdered another person.
I suppose someone will say that no one can predict the future and the system should not be blamed for this girl’s death.
I disagree- I disagree loudly.
This girl is dead because this young man was, for all purposes- set free.
An ankle bracelet did nothing to protect you, me, or Mikarah. It certainly didn’t prevent young Mr. DuBois from getting a gun and the necessary ammunition- something it seems he can do rather easily, as he’s been caught possessing fire arms illegally in the past.
In the past few months we’ve seen the horrific murders of 7 law enforcement officers. In at least 1 of those cases, the Lakewood shooting, we were all outraged to find out a repeat felon facing charges of child rape had been released on bail pending further action. We all readily accept it as a systemic failure that should not be allowed to happen again. State Legislators will introduce potential laws in the 2010 session which seek to eradicate the loophole the shooter, Maurice Clemons, was able to hop through.
What about Matthew DuBois?
Why was this young man let out of jail and what can be done to prevent such egregious decisions from being made in the future?
Mikarah Sanders was gunned down in the 34th LD. I hope Reps. Cody and Nelson are paying attention and charting a course of action.
None of us should sit idle on this one. None of us.