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Man Pleads Not Guilty In Officer’s Death

A Seattle man has pleaded innocent to murder, hit-and-run and drug charges in the death of an off-duty police officer.

Robert Duane Knowles, 28, accused of crashing into the officer’s car while fleeing from a state trooper, was scheduled for a June 1 pretrial hearing. He remained in King County Jail in lieu of a $1 million bail.

Knowles’ attorney, Peter Connick, accused prosecutors of filing more serious charges against Knowles because he killed a veteran Seattle police officer. Connick said he will ask the court to reduce the second-degree murder charge to vehicular homicide, the charge usually filed in fatal collisions.

But prosecutors said they decided on the murder charge because Knowles struck the officer, Ken Davis, while fleeing from a state patrolman.

Knowles faces 5 to 7 years if convicted of vehicular homicide, felony hit-and-run and possession of cocaine charges; but he faces 16 to 20 years if convicted of second-degree murder and the other two charges.

The hit-and-run charge resulted from Knowles’ attempt to run on foot from the crash scene and the drug charge involved cocaine found in his car. King successfully prosecuted people on murder charges at least twice already when fatal collisions occurred while they were fleeing from police.

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