Crime

Timothy Bass serving a three-decade prison term for 1989 murder of Mandy Stavik

With the conclusion of one of Whatcom County’s most notorious cold cases earlier this year, Timothy Forrest Bass has begun serving his prison sentence after kidnapping, raping and murdering Amanda “Mandy” Stavik nearly 30 years ago.

Bass, 51, is currently incarcerated in the Clallam Bay Corrections Center on the Olympic Peninsula, according to the Washington State Department of Corrections.

Bass is under ‘close custody’, meaning he has more supervision, less freedom of movement and limits on personal property and programs he can attend, according to Janelle Guthrie, a DOC spokesperson.

Bass has not had any infractions since he was transferred to the prison in early July, Guthrie said. Bass’ tentative release from prison is scheduled for January 2036.

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

Bass, of Everson, was sentenced July 2 to nearly 27 years in prison for Stavik’s death after a jury found him guilty of first-degree murder in late May in Whatcom County Superior Court. The jury also found Bass guilty of special verdicts for first-degree rape, attempted first-degree rape, first-degree kidnapping and attempted first-degree kidnapping at his three-week trial.

Stavik disappeared Nov. 24, 1989, while jogging near her home on Strand Road in Clipper, near Acme. Three days later, the 18-year-old’s nude body was found in the south fork of the Nooksack River.

Bass appealed his conviction days after sentencing. His case is still pending, according to court records.

Stavik’s family said that while there will never be closure for her death, the pain of trial was worth it and that they hope to heal after her killer’s conviction.

Some of the major points from Bass’ arrest, trial and subsequent conviction for Stavik’s 1989 murder include:

  • Stavik’s mother, Mary, testified, saying there was no reason for her daughter not to return home that day. Friends, family and neighbors also detailed Stavik’s last-known whereabouts the day she disappeared.

  • Tom Bass said that his older brother, Timothy Bass, asked him to lie for him multiple times over the past several years, including asking him to say that he too had a relationship with Stavik and that they were out Christmas shopping the day Stavik was abducted.

  • The defense rested its case after presenting a witness that said Stavik took a different jogging route than her normal route the day she disappeared.

  • The prosecution and defense both gave closing arguments. The prosecution asked the jury to hold Bass accountable for his actions, while his defense attorneys argued Stavik’s death was a mystery and that the two had a consensual sexual relationship.

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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