Some of Mac Setter's most notable cases

THE BELLINGHAM HERALDSeptember 11, 2013 

Here's a brief overview of notable cases prosecuted by Mac Setter of Whatcom County. The dates trace defendants' convictions.

April 1986: Michael Wayne McVay, of Sumas, convicted of rape and kidnapping months after getting paroled in another abduction and rape case.

He tied up a woman, blindfolded her and raped her in a downstairs bedroom. She suffered through the crime for upwards of 18 hours. It was the third time McVay had been convicted of rape.

Superior Court Judge Byron Swedberg sentenced him to three life terms. "I can't say this (sentence) is an unreasonable one," Setter said at the time.

March 1989: Darren Dee O'Neall, a notorious serial killer convicted of stealing Wendy Aughe's car.

Aughe, 29, vanished in 1987 after a date with O'Neall. Police suspected him in her death. Officers found blood on her bed sheets, and her earrings were found at a campsite off Mount Baker Highway. But her body has never been found. Her car had been abandoned in Eugene, Ore., with O'Neall's fingerprints inside.

At trial, Setter told the jury: "The real issue is what caused the car to disappear? What caused Wendy to disappear? What caused a lot of things to change so fast?" O'Neall's defense attorney objected to that kind of innuendo. The Superior Court judge called the comments "editorializing" but didn't bar Setter from referencing Aughe's disappearance.

O'Neall was convicted of the car theft. "See you at the appeal," he said afterward. He was never charged with killing Aughe.

December 1989: Imogene Faith Farrell, 17, convicted in the double-murder of Nancy Cooke, 22, and her father Donald Cooke, 68.

Setter prosecuted Farrell as an adult. She attacked Nancy with a steak knife, out of jealousy over a boyfriend, then sexually assaulted her corpse. Farrell killed Donald when he came to Nancy's defense.

The defense attorney tried to pin the crime on the boyfriend. But when Setter got a chance to cross-examine Farrell, "out of nowhere, she fights with me, in the first sentence," Setter said last week. "She got angrier and angrier and angrier, and the jurors start moving back in their chairs, because they see she's fully capable of doing this."

Farrell was found guilty of two counts of first-degree murder and sentenced to 66 1/2 years in prison.

March 2004: Ryan Alexander, 16, who took second-grader Michael Busby Jr. to a field near Jaeger Street and injected him with a deadly dose of insulin.

Alexander also beat, cut and choked the boy. He's serving a life term in prison, but a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling could shorten his sentence. The court ruled it's unconstitutional to require life sentences without possibility of parole for serious crimes committed by juveniles.

April 2009: Joseph W. Giuliano, 55, the former chief of U.S. Border Patrol's Blaine sector, who pleaded guilty to raping a 14-year-old girl.

He'd admitted to having sex with the girl at least 24 times. Setter negotiated a plea deal that would have meant three years of sex offender treatment and time on work release to cover the cost of the treatment, but no jail time.

Judge Charles Snyder rejected the plea bargain and sentenced Giuliano to four years in state prison, after the girl's parents tearfully begged the judge to impose the maximum sentence of five years.

Reach Caleb Hutton at 360-715-2276 or Read his Dispatcher Blog at or follow him on Twitter at @bhamcrime.

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