In yet another bizarre twist to a throat slashing incident that authorities believe is linked to an alleged child molestation, Ocean Shores fugitive James Lemar Griffin was arrested last week in Los Angeles.
And, three days later, he was released.
Though there is a warrant for Griffin’s arrest, with charges that he slashed the throat of his Duck Lake Drive neighbor Jose Moises Segovia-Barrera, the Grays Harbor County prosecutor’s office decided not to bring him back to face charges.
“We made the decision not to extradite him,” said Kraig Newman, senior deputy prosecuting attorney for the county.
The reason not to seek extradition?
“We have witness problems,” said Newman. “Segovia is a necessary witness, but he is also pending a case in our court.”
Segovia is being held on charges of child molestation. But Newman said the mother of the child that Segovia allegedly molested has left the area. The Ocean Shores woman is married to Segovia, but is apparently traveling with Griffin.
Police suspect that Griffin attacked Segovia on July 31 as retribution for the alleged child molestation. According to one witness statement, the suspect “pounded his fist into his palm and said, ‘That (expletive) is going to suffer before he is deported.”
Segovia-Barrera, also known as Jose Moises Calista-Barrera, is a 31-year-old native of El Salvador who faces illegal immigration charges.
According to Newman, Segovia and Griffin both may never stand trial for the serious crimes for which they are accused.
“Once (Segovia-Barrera) is released because the witness against him that is necessary went off to California … we won’t have a case.”
Newman said that Segovia-Barrera “is likely to get released and be deported, so we won’t have the witness.
“Segovia cannot be made to testify … so we have no case against Mr. Griffin.”
So there remains the strong possibility that charges against both Segovia-Barrera and Griffin will be dropped.
Other than that it was for the Ocean Shores warrant, the details of Griffin’s arrest in Los Angeles were not available at press time. Griffin turned 24 on Sept. 14, the day he was arrested. He has several prior convictions, both as a juvenile and adult.
Russ Fitts of the Ocean Shores Police Department said that the OSPD was not informed of Griffin’s arrest in Los Angeles until after his Sept. 17 release. Newman said the Los Angeles police knew of Griffin’s whereabouts after his release from the L.A. jail. Newman made the decision not to pursue, arrest and extradite Griffin.
Fitts was asked on Monday if the OSPD had collected fingerprints and/or other physical evidence that would link Griffin to the alleged crime, if Segovia-Barrera cannot be a witness.
“The physical evidence collected primarily consisted of the victim’s clothing. There were no fingerprints recovered from the scene in that there was no indication that the suspect touched anything or left anything behind,” Fitts said.
Segovia-Barrera has a pre-trial hearing scheduled for Oct. 8 and a trial date of Oct. 23 — if he is to stand trial for the crime for which he was arrested.
According to police reports, the 4-year-old Ocean Shores girl that Segovia-Barrera is accused of raping consistently named her attacker to a Child Protective Services (CPS) representative, law enforcement officer and others.
Segovia-Barrera has been in jail since his arrest on Aug. 2. After being treated at Harborview Hospital for injuries received during the throat slashing, he was released from the hospital and went to the police department to retrieve items. He was arrested there.