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Teen Charged With Murder In Death Of 12-Year-Old Sitter

A 17-year-old boy was charged Tuesday with rape, murder and three counts of burglary in a deadly weekend attack on a 12-year-old baby sitter.

David Dodge will be arraigned today in Everett on charges of first-degree murder, second-degree rape, residential burglary and two counts of first-degree burglary, the Snohomish County prosecutor’s office said. He was charged as an adult.

Dodge was arrested Sunday night and ordered held Monday on $1 million bail.

He is accused in the bludgeoning death of Ashley Jones, who was attacked while baby-sitting five children at a neighbor’s house Saturday night.

According to charging papers, Dodge entered the house three times. Each burglary charge reflects one of those entries.

The first time, he fled when he heard noises. He then returned, armed with a piece of wood.

When he came across Jones, he struck her on the head with the weapon, and then left the house again to see if there was any reaction.

When there was not, he went back inside, carried the unconscious victim to the basement and assaulted her. One of the children in the house was asleep on a couch just a few feet away.

The family Jones was baby-sitting for found her, badly beaten, at about 2 a.m. Sunday. Her young charges, ages 2 to 8, apparently slept through the attack in this bedroom community of 3,000. It appeared her assailant entered the home through an unlocked door.

She died later Sunday at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.

A statement issued Tuesday by Prosecutor James Kreider said Dodge has been charged “to the full extent of the law given the facts that we now know.”

Dodge, of nearby Camano Island, was arrested at a friend’s apartment here Sunday night on a fugitive warrant issued after his escape from Larch Way Lodge, a halfway house for juveniles.

A neighbor’s description implicated him in the slaying.

Dodge had a history of run-ins with the law, but no record of violence, which was a factor in the state Corrections Department decision to send him to the halfway house in Lynnwood, about 30 miles south of here and just north of Seattle.

He slipped away Friday, when he was supposed to be on work-release at a United Furniture Warehouse store.

“This is one of those really tragic cases in the juvenile justice world,” Sid Sidorowicz, assistant secretary for the state Juvenile Rehabilitation Administration, told The Seattle Times.

“You look at a case where you know some things the juvenile’s done, but they’re not predictive of what he might do,” Sidorowicz said.

When Dodge was convicted of burglary in Island County - his fifth conviction - in December 1996, friends and relatives pleaded for leniency.

“He has never done anything violent to hurt anyone and has a tender heart and loves people,” his parents, Daniel and Sharon Dodge, wrote to Island County Superior Court Judge Alan Hancock.

Their son was home-schooled for most of his life. He started college in 1995, earned good grades, then switched to an auto mechanics course in 1996, his parents told the judge. He worked for several general contractors after dropping the mechanics course in early 1997, the Dodges said.

Dodge was sentenced to up to 10 months of confinement.

He spent four days at Indian Ridge Corrections Center in Arlington, Sidorowicz said, and then was sent to another group home. When he did not follow the rules there, he was sent back to Indian Ridge for 12 days.

Then he was sent to Larch Way Lodge, where residents are escorted to school or work each day and locked in at night.

Offenders are assigned there - the home can accommodate six inmates - after a review of their crimes and an assessment of their danger to others and the likelihood they will flee.

Those selected for the facility have no record of violent crime or of chronic criminal activity, Sidorowicz said.

Dodge first came to official attention in October 1995, when he was 15 and charged with three counts of burglary. He received a year’s probation and community service, with any further penalty deferred if he stayed out of trouble.

In April 1996, he was convicted of another burglary and sentenced to 10 days’ confinement and six months’ supervision. With the deferred sentence from the first offenses revoked, he got an additional 20 days’ confinement and six more months of supervision.

The December 1996 conviction landed him in Indian Ridge and then the group homes.