Crime

Jaycee Fuller convicted in 2009 death of cabbie in Tacoma

A jury on Wednesday convicted Jaycee Fuller of first-degree murder in the 2009 slashing death of a 22-year-old Somalian cab driver in Tacoma.

The jury began deliberating Tuesday.

Fuller, 37, is set to be sentenced Dec. 19. He asked that sentencing be put off until after the holidays but was denied. He represented himself during the trial.

Pierce County prosecutors said Fuller, a former cabbie, was desperate for money because he was unemployed and facing eviction from his apartment.

They said a need for cash and anger at immigrants for taking American jobs prompted Fuller to catch a ride in Mohamud Ahmed’s taxi in March of 2009, cut his throat and rob him.

A different jury convicted Fuller of Ahmed’s death in 2010, and he was sentenced to 28 years in prison. The Washington State Court of Appeals ruled Fuller did not get a fair trial, overturned the conviction in 2012 and ordered him to be tried again.

Prosecutor Mark Lindquist and deputy prosecutor Erika Nohavec tried the case, which was largely circumstantial.

Their biggest piece of evidence tying Fuller to the cabbie’s death was a knit cap from The Keg restaurant, where Fuller used to work. The cap, which had Fuller’s DNA on it, was found 200 feet from Ahmed’s body.

The defendant could not explain how the cap was found near the murder scene. He admitted to receiving a similar cap in 2006 at a company Christmas party but said he discarded it at the door before leaving that night.

Prosecution witnesses testified they’d seen Fuller wear the cap after the party.

Surveillance footage from a restaurant near where Ahmed picked up his killer shows a man who looks like Fuller wearing a similar cap.

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