Duwayne Lance Skillman, 32, has been charged with murder in the first degree in the death of Lynn Cooper, a 69-year old Key Peninsula resident. Skillman pled not guilty at his arraignment on Dec. 3. Trial has been set for Jan 25, 2016.
An order was entered on Dec. 3 establishing bail at $2 million dollars, including a statement that Skillman was a “transient,” a term frequently used to describe what is commonly known as a homeless person.
Skillman will be represented by Laura Carnell and Michael Kawamura from the Department of Assigned Counsel.
The Declaration for Determination of Probable Cause filed in this matter sets forth the facts that the prosecutor intends to prove at trial:
On July 6, 2015, Deputy Plummer responded to a report of an abandoned vehicle on 144th Street KPN. Plummer ran the license plates and determined that the registered owner was Lynn Cooper, whose residence was two blocks away on 144th Street.
Reports said that Plummer went to the Cooper residence and found the door open. “Nobody responded, and he entered to do a welfare check. Plummer found a deceased woman on the floor. Her body was in a significant state of decomposition.”Plummer exited the building and detectives started their investigation.
An autopsy performed on July 7 determined the cause of death to be sharp force trauma, with multiple stab wounds. The body was confirmed to be that of Lynn Cooper.
Cooper would have died sometime between June 18 and July 6, 2015, the report said.
The person who reported an abandoned vehicle on July 6 contacted the police again on Aug. 14, informing them that “he believed that his cousin Duwayne Skillman might be involved somehow.”
Skillman reportedly bragged to his cousin about stealing Cooper’s vehicle. His cousin also found a bloody knife hidden in a woodpile next to where Skillman had been staying, before the cousin kicked Skillman off his property, the declaration stated.
Analysis by the Washington State Patrol Crime Laboratory revealed the blood on the knife was that of Lynn Cooper.
Skillman was arrested on Nov. 30, 2015, and gave three different stories over a short period of time, the declaration said.
The events and statements described above come from a sworn statement of a Pierce County Deputy Prosecutor, summarizing the police investigation. Skillman's facts will need to be determined at trial.
If Skillman does not post bail, then he will remain in the county jail pending trial.
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