The retrial of a man accused of killing a Tacoma cabbie in 2009 began Monday in Pierce County Superior Court.
Jaycee Fuller, 37, is charged with first-degree murder in the death of Mohamud Ahmed, a 22-year-old Somali immigrant stabbed to death in his cab in a South Tacoma parking lot.
Prosecutors allege Fuller attacked Ahmed during an attempted robbery that was motivated in part by a hatred of immigrants.
Fuller, who is representing himself in the trial, has pleaded not guilty. He has maintained his innocence since his arrest.
The case against him is overwhelmingly circumstantial.
Detectives tied a knit cap found near the scene of the murder to Fuller.
In the original trial, prosecutors showed jurors surveillance video that showed a man who resembles Fuller wearing a similar cap in the area where Ahmed picked up the person believed to have killed him.
A jury convicted Fuller in 2010, and he was sentenced to 28 years in prison.
The Washington State Court of Appeals overturned the conviction in 2012, ruling Fuller did not get a fair trial. The three-judge panel said prosecutors violated his rights by suggesting to jurors that Fuller’s silences during portions of a police interview meant he was guilty.
“The Ninth Circuit has explicitly held that ‘the right to remain silent’ is not an all-or-nothing proposition,” the appeal ruling states.
“A suspect may remain selectively silent by answering some questions and then refusing to answer others without taking the risk that his silence may be used against him.”
Adam Lynn: 253-597-8644