The parents of an alleged bank robber who died in a standoff with police in Seattle last year are selling his 19-acre property - featuring a tri-level tree house - to pay off estate debts.
William Scott Scurlock - called “Hollywood” because of the disguises he allegedly wore during the robberies - built most of the 1,500-square-foot aerie in the 1980s, when he was a chemistry student at nearby Evergreen State College.
The Hobbit-like house is tucked high in the boughs of a stand of second-growth firs and cedars. It features a sun deck and shower, 6-foot-high picture windows, plumbing, electrical wiring, a wood stove, decks, window seats, lofts and fire poles for quick descents.
The tree house, where Scurlock lived on and off for more than a decade, is the main feature of the largely undeveloped woodsy tract.
Authorities say Scurlock robbed more than 15 Northwest banks before a Nov. 27, 1996, heist at a Seafirst bank in north Seattle led to his downfall.
After a police chase into a residential neighborhood, Scurlock’s two accomplices were wounded in a shootout.
Scurlock eluded a police dragnet for a day, but was found hiding in a camper in a back yard. He fatally shot himself in the head as police moved in, guns blazing.
Six law-enforcement officers, members of the Puget Sound Violent Crime Task Force, filed a lawsuit in April in Thurston County against Scurlock’s estate, contending they suffered emotional distress in the shootout.
An out-of-court settlement was reached last month for an undisclosed sum.
“The estate has debts that we can’t pay unless we sell the property,” said retired minister Bill Scurlock, executor of his son’s estate with his wife Mary Jane, in an interview with the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.
The couple, who live in Arizona, declined to say how much the property is worth.
Seattle lawyer Lincoln D. Sieler, who represented the officers who sued, has said Scurlock’s estate was valued at $106,000.
Much of the top construction of the tree house has been blown down, said Scurlock’s girlfriend, who still lives in the house and asked not to be identified.
The tree house is showing other signs of wear as well.
The floorboards buckle, and growing tree trunks push out against the walls. During wind storms, the girlfriend says she can hear nails popping out.
“This is what you call a high-maintenance house,” she said.
Scurlock’s parents hope that whoever buys the property will preserve their son’s dream home.
“It’s a beautiful tree house,” said Mary Jane Scurlock, a retired schoolteacher.
“I would hate to see it destroyed.”