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Boy’s bond with dogs gains following A10


Moratorium on executions reopens wounds Serial killer victim’s mother: It seems governor is siding with Yates over daughter By JESSIE STENSLAND Staff reporter

If Shawn Johnson were alive today, she would be looking forward to the birth of her twin granddaughters in about two weeks. This promise of new life, however, helps to ease the pain of her absence for Johnson’s mother, Margaret Dettman. The retired, 72-year-old woman lives in an Oak Harbor trailer park with her other daughter and son-in-law and tries to focus on the good in life while she lets go of the hurt and anger. That task became more difficult, she said, when Gov. Jay Inslee announced this week that he was placing a moratorium on executions, which will prevent any death sentences from being carried out while he remains in office. DETTMAN SAID she was aghast by the governor’s decision. It forces her to once again consider the man who murdered her daughter and at least 14 other people. Serial killer Robert Yates, who happens to be an Oak Harbor High School graduate, sits on death row and is awaiting his fate as his latest appeal makes its way through federal court. Dettman said Yates doesn’t deserve a reprieve. “I want to forgive him. I want to,” Dettman said. “God says you are supposed to forgive. But I don’t know. I The Spokesman-Review photo just can’t.” ROBERT YATES

PIERCE COUNTY Prosecutor Mark Lindquist, whose office sent Yates to death row, said Inslee’s action may not affect Yates’ case after all. He said the case will likely remain tied up in appellate litigation until after Inslee leaves office. “Because the appeals process is so absurdly lengthy, Robert

Photo by Jessie Stensland/Whidbey News-Times

Oak Harbor resident Margaret Dettman holds a photo of her daughter, Shawn Johnson. The photo was taken just a couple of months before she was murdered by serial killer Robert Yates. Yates may never land on this governor’s desk,” he said. Dettman is skeptical and worries that “some fluke” will someday lead to Yates being released. She said it feels like the governor is siding with Yates over her daughter and the other

young victims. “She wasn’t a bad girl,” she said. “She was just a girl who was stupid and lost.” SEE A MOTHER’S GRIEF, A16

County department heads differ on impact of re-adding Friday hours By JANIS REID Staff reporter

Several Island County department heads say that they can open to the public on Fridays with little to no financial implications. However, others claim the answer may not be that simple. During a recent roundtable discussion of department heads, several said that they

would have the ability to open immediately without additional expenses or staffing. In general the larger, better-staffed departments could easily open on Fridays, although some leaders still have concerns. The smaller offices would struggle, they said, for lack of staffing After deep budget cuts, Island County commissioners decided to close county offices

Fridays in December 2009 to give employees extra time to finish work. Reduced hours for the departments, including planning, public health, auditor and others is particularly troublesome for real estate brokers and builders who experience a domino effect of delays as the result of an unissued permit. Mary Engle, Island County assessor,

said that, while she would need a part-time employee to be bumped up to full-time in order to fully function five days a week, she is willing to staff the window herself on Fridays if the commissioners reverse the 2009 policy. “I’ve never been against opening on Fridays,” Engle said. “Half of my staff is SEE HOURS, A16

Whidbey News-Times, February 15, 2014  

February 15, 2014 edition of the Whidbey News-Times

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