A retired trooper accused of firing shots from a moving vehicle near South Prairie likely won’t have to serve further jail time.
Both the head of the State Patrol and the King County prosecutor wrote the court letters on behalf of 59-year-old Michael Cassaday.
He pleaded guilty Monday to discharging a firearm in a public place, and retired Superior Court Judge John McCarthy, filling in on a temporary basis, gave him a deferred sentence. That means he won’t have to serve the time if he avoids further trouble with the law.
“This resolution was contingent on his entry into treatment, and takes into account substantial mitigating information provided to the State by defense counsel, including character references and documentation of substantial service to the public by Mr. Cassaday,” deputy prosecutor Patrick Hammond wrote the court.
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Alcohol dependency treatment is part of the sentence.
According to charging papers:
Cassaday and his son left a Bonney Lake movie theater July 29, and the son drove because he thought his father had too much to drink to get behind the wheel. They argued on the way home, and Cassaday took a pistol from the glove compartment, and fired it out the window.
That’s when the son pulled over in the 24600 block of South Prairie Road East, and flagged down a passing Tacoma officer.
Investigators said Cassaday, who was working security at a local casino, told them he had a drinking problem related to his law enforcement career and family struggles. He was briefly jailed and posted bail.
State Patrol Chief John Batiste wrote the court prior to sentencing that he met Cassaday more than 35 years ago, and was his direct supervisor as a district commander in Bellevue.
“He did a good job as a trooper and his hard work led to his promotion to sergeant, and then into an elite and coveted position as a detective sergeant,” the chief wrote. “… I am happy to vouch for him, as he has always been a respectable person and I wish him nothing but the best in his future.”
King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg wrote the court that he and Cassaday met as fraternity brothers at the University of Washington, and had similar praise for him.
“I have always been impressed with Michael’s professionalism, his courage and his dedication,” Satterberg’s letter said.