This time there was no shortage of courtroom security.
At least a dozen bailiffs, jail guards and King County police officers were present Thursday for the arraignment of Timothy Craig Blackwell, charged with the fatal courthouse shooting of his pregnant wife and two women who testified for her in divorce proceedings.
Blackwell, 47, of Kirkland, pleaded innocent to three counts of aggravated first-degree murder and one count of first-degree manslaughter in the death of Susana Remerata Blackwell’s 8-month-old fetus.
Superior Court Judge Brian Gain set a pretrial hearing for March 23. Deputy prosecutor Kerry Keefe said the trial probably would begin in about six months.
Presiding Superior Court Judge Ann Ellington will appoint an outof-county judge at a later time to hear the case, Gain said.
Prosecutors have not decided whether to seek the death penalty. The only alternative punishment upon conviction on the aggravated murder charges would be life in prison without parole.
Terry Mulligan, Blackwell’s public defender, sought in vain to bar photographs or television broadcasts of the defendant’s face.
Mulligan told Gain he was concerned about “potential jurors … speculating on what’s going on in his mind, based on various facial expressions.”
“The state Constitution requires open and public meetings” in court, Gain said.
Blackwell’s only comment in court was to acknowledge his name. Standing before the judge, he rested his arms on a wooden counter as Mulligan responded to all other questions.
Seven uniformed officers stood near the bench and five more were in the public seating area. Others were seen before the proceedings in a hallway and behind doors leading to a walkway to the jail.
Blackwell is accused of firing 11 shots on March 2 outside the courtroom where a judge had heard arguments on his divorce and annulment case. Also killed were Phoebe Paclibar Dizon, 46, and Veronica Laureta Johnson, 42, who had testified on his wife’s behalf.
Since then metal detectors and X-ray machines have been installed at all public entrances to the courthouse.