This is what Timothy Bass said before he was sentenced to prison for Stavik murder

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Bass on trial for Stavik’s death

Timothy Bass was convicted in Whatcom County Superior Court for the 1989 murder of Amanda Stavik.

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Timothy Forrest Bass maintains that he did not kidnap, rape and murder 18-year-old Amanda “Mandy” Stavik nearly 30 years ago.

On Tuesday, July 2, the 51-year-old Everson man was sentenced to nearly 27 years in prison for Stavik’s death. A jury found Bass guilty in late May of first-degree murder after a nearly three-week trial in Whatcom County Superior Court.

Before sentencing, Bass was given a chance to address the court about any aspect of his case. Bass told Superior Court Judge Rob Olson that he initially had about 10 pages of things he wanted to talk about, but decided only one page was appropriate.

“I would first like to say that I am 100% innocent of this crime. Furthermore, I don’t believe I received a fair trial,” Bass said. “In saying that though, a better man in me says I should say very little today and give this day to the Stavik family. Sorry,” Bass continued as he choked up.

Bass said he loved his father, that they were best friends and they did everything together. Bass said he hasn’t been the same since his father died in a four-wheeling accident in 2002. He gave the eulogy at his father’s funeral, wrote his obituary and made a memorial to him in his garage, Bass said.

He said for his now ex-wife to testify that he asked her and his mother if they could blame Stavik’s death on his late father after sheriff’s detectives questioned him was “hard to take.”

Bass’ ex-wife, Gina Malone, was originally scheduled to be his alibi witness, but ultimately ended up testifying against him, according to court records and testimony presented at trial. Malone said after detectives made a second visit to the Bass home in 2015, Bass asked his mother if they could blame Stavik’s death on his dead father — a request his mother denied. Bass’ mother maintains that conversation never happened.

Olson, the judge, called it a “quasi-admission” of Stavik’s murder.

Bass did not take the stand during his trial. His defense attorneys argued he and Stavik had a consensual sexual relationship prior to her disappearance and death.

Bass said he had never been arrested prior to December 2017, and said he was never unemployed and didn’t drink or use drugs. He was married for nearly 30 years and raised three children, two with disabilities, he said.

Prior to his arrest, Bass worked as a delivery driver for the Franz Bakery outlet in Bellingham. He said he would deliver twice a week to the Whatcom County Jail until route changes occurred in 2016. He said this proves that he wasn’t afraid, as prosecuting attorneys have claimed during trial.

Since his arrest, Bass has been in the Whatcom County Jail in lieu of $1 million bail.

“I tried to be respectful and kind in my year and a half that I’ve been here. That is very hard to do when you’re being accused of something like this. I will continue to be this way, as it’s just the way I am,” Bass said. “I wish no ill will towards anyone here, not even today, but I am having a hard time with this.”

At the end of his statement, Olson took a 20-minute recess before continuing on with sentencing. Bass crumpled his statement and put it in the front chest pocket of his green jail clothes.

Stavik disappeared Nov. 24, 1989, while on a jog near her home on Strand Road in Clipper, near Acme. Three days later, her body was found in the south fork of the Nooksack River. Bass also lived on Strand Road in 1989 in his family’s home.

ABC’s investigative series “20/20” will premiere “30 Years Searching,” a two-hour special on this case at 9 p.m., Friday, Sept. 20, 2019.

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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.