Crime

‘This ain’t good, he’s wanting people to lie for him’ Timothy Bass’ brother testifies

Timeline of the 1989 Mandy Stavik murder case

Thirty years after the murder of Amanda "Mandy" Stavik in 1989, Timothy Bass is scheduled to face trial for first-degree murder in May. A reported DNA match led to Bass' arrest in December 2017.
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Thirty years after the murder of Amanda "Mandy" Stavik in 1989, Timothy Bass is scheduled to face trial for first-degree murder in May. A reported DNA match led to Bass' arrest in December 2017.

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Bass on trial for Stavik’s death

Timothy Bass is on trial in Whatcom County Superior Court for the 1989 murder of Amanda Stavik.

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Tom Bass, the younger brother of Timothy Forrest Bass said Wednesday during testimony in his brother’s trial for the 1989 alleged abduction, rape and murder of Amanda “Mandy” Stavik, that his brother asked him to lie multiple times over the past several years. Tom Bass also said his brother admitted to having a sexual relationship with Stavik prior to her death.

Tom Bass, who was called as a witness for the prosecution late Wednesday, May 15, said he had a meeting in late February 2015 at his house in Concrete with his brother, his brother’s wife and their mother. Tom Bass said his brother pulled him into a back-bedroom where the pair had a conversation.

Tom Bass said his brother appeared nervous and anxious because police had contacted him twice already related to Stavik’s death.

“The reason I’m so worried and anxious is because I slept with Mandy,” Tom Bass said his brother told him. Tom Bass said Timothy Bass then repeated the statement, and followed by saying “You believe me right?”

Tom Bass said he then asked for details of the relationship, and Timothy Bass then told him that he had slept with Stavik several times her senior year in high school in 1989, and then once when she came back from college for Thanksgiving break.

Stavik disappeared after a run the day after Thanksgiving, Nov. 24, 1989, and was found dead in the river three days later.

During the meeting in Concrete, Tom Bass said his brother asked him to say he had slept with her too, which he said he declined to do. Timothy Bass again asked if his brother believed him, to which his brother had no response.

Two years later, Timothy Bass was arrested in December 2017, and Tom Bass and their mother came to visit Timothy Bass at the Whatcom County Jail. While they were talking, Tom Bass said his brother held up a handwritten sign.

“He said the cops are lying, everyone is out to get him, everybody is lying and he said they’re going to kill me in here,” Tom Bass said during his testimony. “The main point he said was I need a strong alibi or I’m going to prison. He said mom maybe you can say we were Christmas shopping. Tom, do what you can. Maybe Jim and Steve can say they knew her back then as well.”

Jim and Steve were friends of Timothy Bass’ that had also come to visit him in the jail after his arrest.

Tom Bass said his mother didn’t have her glasses on at the time Timothy Bass held up the sign, so she said she couldn’t read it. Tom Bass then took his mother outside and told her what the sign said, but said she shrugged it off.

Tom Bass stopped visiting his brother shortly after that, and said it was the start of a break in their relationship.

0515 Bass Goldfogel.jpg
Whatcom County Medical Examiner Dr. Gary Goldfogel testifies Wednesday in Whatcom County Superiror Court during Timothy Bass’ trial for first-degree murder related to the 1989 alleged abduction, rape and death of 18-year-old Mandy Stavik. Denver Pratt dpratt@bhamherald.com

Other Wednesday testimony

Whatcom County Medical Examiner Dr. Gary Goldfogel testified that Stavik’s death was consistent with someone abducting, raping and murdering her.

He also said he could not determine whether the injury to the top right portion of Stavik’s head, which he found during her autopsy, occurred before or after her death. He did determine that the scratches found on her legs and arms, which he said would be caused by running through the brush, happened before she died.

Goldfogel testified that Stavik drowned, but was alive when she first went into the water, and that the semen found in Stavik’s body occurred close to her death.

Katherine Woodard, a forensic scientist in the DNA section of the Washington State Patrol Crime Lab in Marysville, testified about collecting evidence, extracting and creating DNA profiles and analyzing DNA and comparable profiles for criminal cases. She compared 85 male samples sent to the crime lab to the suspect DNA profile created from the evidence taken from Stavik’s body.

Quotes of the day

Goldfogel: I view each autopsy like it was a jigsaw puzzle. The initial part of information starts at the scene and hopefully gives me the border pieces, and each step along the way I hope that I obtain more pieces of the puzzle. … I hope that at the end of the process to have enough of the puzzle to have understanding to allow the person that is no longer capable to speak for themselves to communicate their story to me.”

Goldfogel: “She has the absolute least amount of deterioration that I see in essentially anybody. She has so little that it was very traumatic, in particular for Ron Peterson at the autopsy, because we’d look at Mandy and say you know, if we could shake her and warm her up then she would wake up.”

Tom Bass, (brother of defendant): “I said mom this ain’t good, he’s wanting people to lie for him. I don’t remember what she said, but she sort of shrugged it off.”

Family, friends and neighbors of Amanda "Mandy" Stavik speak about when they last saw her on her jog in 1989 before she disappeared, during the trial at Whatcom County Superior Court on Monday, May 13, 2019.

The trial so far

A jury was seated Thursday afternoon, May 9, after four days of questioning. It consists of 12 jurors with four alternates. The jury is made up of eight men and four women.

Opening statements were presented by both the prosecution and the defense Friday morning, May 10.

Stavik’s family, friends and neighbors testified Monday and Tuesday, May 13-14.

Ron Peterson, the former Chief Civil Deputy for the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office testified about finding Stavik’s body and preserving evidence.

The prosecution in Timothy Bass' trial for first-degree murder displays a video of former Chief Civil Deputy Ron Peterson describing the recovery of Mandy Stavik's body on Nov. 27, 1989.

Key players

David McEachran, who retired in December after 44 years as lead county prosecutor, was called back as a special prosecutor to handle the case.

Starck Follis, who is the director of the Whatcom County Public Defender’s Office, is one of three attorneys defending Timothy Bass.

Timothy Bass is accused of first-degree murder for the 1989 death of 18-year-old Amanda “Mandy” Stavik.

Amanda “Mandy” Stavik, 18, disappeared while jogging near her home in Clipper, near Acme, on Nov. 24, 1989. Three days later her nude body was found in the south fork of the Nooksack River.

Background on the case

On Nov. 24, 1989, 18-year-old Amanda “Mandy” Stavik went for a jog near her home in Clipper, near Acme, and never returned. Her body was found three days later in the south fork of the Nooksack River. She was wearing only her jogging sneakers and socks.

In December 2017, 51-year-old Timothy Forrest Bass, of Everson, was arrested in connection with Stavik’s 1989 death. Bass’ fellow coworker turned in a plastic cup and Coke can he drank out of. Bass’ DNA reportedly matched the suspect profile created from evidence taken from Stavik’s body during an autopsy.

Bass is currently on trial for first-degree murder.

What’s next

Katherine Woodard, a forensic scientist, is expected to continue her testimony on Thursday morning. A man who was in the jail at the same time as Bass who said Bass told him incriminating details of the crime is also expected to testify.

BEHIND OUR REPORTING

About our coverage

Reporter Denver Pratt will be in court every day of the Timothy Bass trial for the 1989 death of Amanda “Mandy” Stavik. Bass is accused of first-degree murder.

Check back weekdays for concise updates from court. Or, sign up for our Breaking News newsletter for updates.

You can also follow the reporter on Twitter @DenverPratt or @BhamHerald for live updates.

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Reporter Denver Pratt joined The Bellingham Herald in 2017 and covers courts and criminal and social justice. She has worked in Montana, Florida and Virginia.


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