Lawsuit: DOC negligent in supervising felons who killed Edgewood man

Tacoma News TribuneAugust 12, 2013 

A boy who watched his father shot to death three years ago inside their Edgewood home is suing the state Department of Corrections, claiming it did not do enough to supervise two felons later convicted of killing his dad.

James Sanders Jr., now 17, seeks unspecified monetary damages in his lawsuit, which was filed on his behalf last week in Pierce County Superior Court by his mother, Pamela Knoll.

He contends the state was negligent in supervising the two men and that he has suffered “both physical and mental pain” as a result.

Corrections spokesman Chad Lewis on Monday declined to comment on the lawsuit, citing agency policy.

Sanders was 14 on April 28, 2010, when his father, James Sanders Sr., was gunned down in their Edgewood house during a home-invasion robbery.

The assailants gained access to the home by answering an ad for a diamond ring for sale the elder Sanders had posted on Craiglist. They tied up Sanders Sr. and his wife, Charlene, and beat and terrorized them as Sanders Jr. and his stepbrother watched.

Sanders Sr. was shot and Sanders Jr. pistol-whipped when they began to fight back.

Four people later were convicted of first-degree murder in the case, including gunman Kiyoshi Higashi and Joshua Reese. Higashi is serving a 124-year sentence, Reese a 100-year sentence.

James Sanders Jr. contends that at the time of the murder Higashi and Reese were under the supervision of the Department of Corrections for previous felony convictions.

Both men had violated the terms of their supervision and should have been arrested before the killing, the lawsuit states.

“If the Department of Corrections had properly supervised Kiyoshi Higashi and Joshua Reese and enforced the conditions of their supervision, Kiyoshi Higashi and Joshua Reese would not have committed the aforementioned criminal acts,” the suit states.


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