Charges were filed Tuesday in Whatcom County Superior Court against the man suspected of stabbing a 71-year-old Bellingham man to death and assaulting two others in Puget neighborhood during what police believe was a random crime spree Saturday morning.
Jesse Rene Reyes, 33, was charged by Chief Criminal Deputy Prosecutor Eric Richey with premeditated first-degree murder with a deadly weapon, second-degree assault and fourth-degree assault, according to court records.
The murder charge was filed with “aggravating circumstances,” as, Richey said in court documents, “Reyes’ conduct during the commission of the current offense manifested deliberate cruelty to the victim under RCW 9.94A.535(3)(a).”
If convicted, Richey said Reyes could face up to 33 years in prison.
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Reyes, who is being held on $1 million bail, is suspected of using a 3-inch folding knife to stab 71-year-old Bellingham resident Donald T. Alderson 37 times on Saturday. Alderson’s body was found on the trail behind the Haskell Business Center, just north of Meador Avenue, Richey said during Reyes’ first appearance Monday.
On Sunday, Whatcom Medical Examiner Dr. Gary Goldfogel, in an email to The Bellingham Herald, said the cause of Alderson’s death was blood loss from stab wounds to the chest.
Minutes before the attack on Alderman, Richey said Reyes is suspected of assaulting a woman at the Lakeway Teriyaki restaurant in the Fred Meyer building, hitting her in the head and face without provocation before employees intervened and he left.
Richey said Reyes then assaulted a man behind Carl Cozier Elememtary School, hitting him in the face, knocking him to the ground and continuing to punch him. The victim in that assault had to be hospitalized and was kept overnight after he suffered a brain bleed.
“Clearly, Mr. Reyes, by what happened here on Saturday, is a danger to the community,” Richey said Monday.
Richey said Reyes had “a significant amount of criminal history from Texas,” including convictions for domestic violence assault, burglary and illegal possession of firearms in multiple cases from 2015 to 2016.
Despite Reyes’ convictions in Texas, Lt. Claudia Murphy said in an email Monday to The Herald that Bellingham Police have “only had minimal contact with him here in 2018 and nothing before.”
“At this point, we have no further information as to what may have set him off on his rampage on Saturday,” Murphy said.
Police arrested Reyes Saturday morning after a short search in near the 1800 block of Texas Street and booked him into Whatcom County Jail.