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Volume 35
Issue 01
 
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Justice delivered in Kevin Shaw murder - Michael Maiava faces up to 34 years in prison
Justice delivered in Kevin Shaw murder - Michael Maiava faces up to 34 years in prison
by Robert Raketty - SGN Staff Writer

A jury found 24-year-old Michael Maiava guilty on Tuesday in the October 2004 death of Kevin Patrick Shaw, a 44-year-old Gay Seattle businessman. Maiava could face up to 34 years in prison for first-degree murder and a weapons charge, according to sentencing guidelines.

Shaw's naked and battered body was discovered slumped over the front passenger seat inside his parked red Porsche Boxster on the morning of on October 21, 2004. He had been wrapped inside two bed sheets and a garbage bag. The perpetrator had attempted to start a fire in an effort to destroy the evidence.

The pair is believed to have met each other through a Gay chat-line. Phone records, DNA evidence, and items recovered from Maiava's residence had linked the defendant to the crime. Witnesses also reported seeing a red Porsche Boxster parked near the suspect's home around the time of the murder.

"I don't think we will ever know why Mr. Shaw decided to meet with Mr. Maiava - the defendant - or why the defendant telephoned him," Jeff Baird, Senior Deputy Prosecuting Attorney, told the SGN on Wednesday. "Mr. Shaw - or course - was murdered and Mr. Maiava has never been candid about his motives for calling Mr. Shaw."

According to the Medical Examiner, Shaw's death was caused by a penetrating wound to his head. Shaw had also received other wounds before his death, including strangulation, a broken back, blunt force trauma and lacerations caused by the binding of his ankles. During the trial, the 24 year veteran of the King County Prosecutor's office described Shaw's body as a "constellation of injuries" and a "map of human suffering."

Baird credited the jurors with looking at the facts of the case and described the 12 member jury as being a "hard working and conscientious group."

"I think the jury did a really good job of setting aside Mr. Shaw's sexual preference and looking at him as an individual in our society - as someone who had suffered a violent crime," he said. "I think the jury ought to be commended for reaching a verdict and for ignoring some of the sort of diversions that the defense offered to them, particularly about the defendant's sexuality.

"The defense tried to suggest that the prosecution was either trying to prove that the defendant was Gay or that he was homophobic. I think the jury really just focused on the question of whether or not the defendant killed Kevin Shaw, who happened to be a Gay man."

The defense offered the jury two arguments. The first was that Maiava did not commit the crime. However - if he did - he didn't have the mental state of pre-mediation. "I thought that we could prove that Mr. Maiava was in fact the murderer - the killer - and I think that the crime itself and the way the crime was committed demonstrated premeditation beyond a reasonable doubt," added Baird.

According to charging papers, Maiava had made admissions to friends and relatives about the crime and, later, admitted to committing the crime during police questioning.

"He claimed that Mr. Shaw had attacked him and that he was defending himself," Baird said about his confession to police. "Mr. Maiava did not testify at trial, so, the jury did not learn that he had in fact admitted to committing the offense. Mr. Maiava did not claim self-defense at trial - instead he relied on the argument that we could not prove the identity of the killer ... beyond a reasonable doubt ... and that even if we did prove that, we couldn't prove that he ... had premeditated intent."

Maiava was "a large man" and "outweighed Mr. Shaw by over 100 lbs," according to Baird.

Julie Lawry, Maiava's public defender from the Associated Council for the Accused, told the Seattle Post-Intelligencer that she expects to appeal. Lawry did not return a phone call from the SGN seeking comment.

Shaw, a Montana native, moved to the Seattle area in the early 1980s after graduating from Gonzaga University in Spokane. He owned an executive-recruiting business and lived in a penthouse condominium on First Hill. Shaw once worked as the chief financial officer for the Spot Bagel Bakery in Seattle.

Baird, who worked with police investigators on the case since the day Shaw's body was discovered, said he greatly appreciated the support of the victim's family and friends.

"I have spent a lot of time with the family and friends of Kevin Shaw and have spoken to them personally many times," he said. "I have come to know Mr. Shaw -- to some extent - through them. It was certainly a privilege to get to know Mr. Shaw and to get to know his friends and family.

"I would just reiterate that it was apparent that Kevin Shaw's circle of friends - like him - was a very special group of people."

The trial had started on November 29 and wrapped up late last week. Jurors deliberated for a little more than a day before reaching their verdict, which was read on Tuesday morning due to the New Year's holiday.

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