Crime

‘I really thought we would solve it’ prosecutor says of Stavik’s murder after verdict

Whatcom County Sheriff explains what Stavik verdict means to community

Whatcom County Sheriff Bill Elfo speaks after a jury found Timothy Forrest Bass guilty of first-degree murder for the death of 18-year-old Amanda "Mandy" Stavik in Whatcom County Superior Court on Friday, May 24, 2019.
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Whatcom County Sheriff Bill Elfo speaks after a jury found Timothy Forrest Bass guilty of first-degree murder for the death of 18-year-old Amanda "Mandy" Stavik in Whatcom County Superior Court on Friday, May 24, 2019.

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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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Timothy Forrest Bass was found guilty of first-degree murder Friday for the 1989 abduction, rape and murder of 18-year-old Amanda “Mandy” Stavik.

The jury returned its verdict after only a little more than one day of deliberation after a three-week trial. The verdict was read aloud in Whatcom County Superior Court May 24.

Former Whatcom County Prosecutor David McEachran was called back as a special prosecuting attorney to handle the case. McEachran, who retired in December after nearly a half-century in office, answered media questions following Bass’ guilty verdict:

Question: Would you like to say anything right now?

Answer:We’re just so gratified, this is exactly the result we wanted and we waited 30 years. This was just finally the culmination, the circle is closed. I can’t tell you how happy I am about the result. The jury looked at this real carefully and they came to the same conclusion that we did when we started investigating this and focused on Mr. Bass, so we’re happier than we can tell you. It was a real honor to come out of retirement to do this. I told the county I would do it for nothing if they got me a parking spot, and I had to fight for that but I got one.”

Q: You were here when Mandy disappeared, right?

A: “I was involved in this case from Day 1. I did all the search warrants, I worked with the officers. We have a real team mindset, we did then, we still do today and my successor here, Eric Richey, has continued that tradition we established. So I was in this case every step of the way. All of the suspects that were mentioned in this courtroom, I dealt with all the detectives.”

Q: So what does it mean to have a conclusion for you?

A: “It’s just terrific, it really is. I just hated to leave. In fact, I wanted to make sure I had it tried before I left and then the defense appealed an issue we had on a search and it got kicked beyond my term and so Eric Richey appointed me as a special deputy, which I was very, very happy to do. But just a terrific result, and we’re just ecstatic.”

Q: What do you think it means for Whatcom County? Mandy’s life touched a lot of people here.

A: “It did. The thing that this shows is that with DNA and the evolution of DNA, and you heard that in this case, it just gets better and better and I think that this really shows that. And I think people who were standing on cold cases are really going to have second thoughts. I think he was worried, as I told the jury, every day that an officer would appear on his doorstep and ask ‘What happened to Mandy?’ Anybody that’s in a cold case, any defendant, ought to be thinking about that. I think it’s a wonderful thing with our advancement of science.

Q: This has been on your heart for 30 years.

A: “I really thought that we would get there. It’s wonderful we did. ... I followed through the advancements in DNA as it got better and better and better. We knew we had secured a very good sample and we really thought we would get there, and I’m very thankful we did.

Q: It’s really a story about the evolution of the science.

A: “It is, it really is. It’s a fact some good police work was done. Dr. Goldfogel, our medical examiner, preserved it. And we had it there so as the science advanced, it would get better and better. I really thought we would solve it, and so we were extremely happy.”

The Herald has reached out to Bass’ defense attorneys for comment.

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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