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Man sentenced to 19 years for Auburn stabbing death
Bradley Courville grew up with his cousin, Quinn Oliver, on the Muckleshoot Reservation.
The two were tight as brothers.
But riding a sleepless, nine-day, methamphetamine-induced high, hearing voices, seeing what wasn't there, Courville stabbed his 26-year-old cousin to death in the early morning hours of Dec. 24, 2012.
At the time Courville told officers he had killed Oliver because his cousin had called him a name.
But at his sentencing for second-degree murder in Judge Leroy McCullough's courtroom at the Norm Maleng Regional Justice Center in Kent on Friday, Courville said, with the clarity offered by two years of newfound sobriety, he really does not know why.
"I just want to tell this family that I am deeply sorry. ... I didn't mean to do it, and I still don't know why I did it. I was really high, and I don't know why I did it," Courville said.
"But for once in my life I can say I'm done with drugs, and I am never going back to it ever again. And that's a promise I can make to you guys, and to God especially," Courville said.
McCullough followed prosecutor's recommendations and sentenced Courville to 19 years, which is mid range for his crimes.
Courville, 26, pleaded guilty last December to second-degree murder with a deadly weapon enhancement and to third-degree assault because of his struggle with an Auburn police officer at the Auburn Justice Center after his arrest.
"The defendant admitted to stabbing (Oliver) in the neck simply because the victim called him a name," said Senior Deputy Prosecutor John B. Castleton Jr. "The autopsy revealed that the victim was stabbed multiple times about the head, face and neck."
Here, according to court records, is what happened.
Police were called to 4023 Auburn Way S. shortly after 1 a.m. When officers got there, Quinn was unconscious and bleeding from a stab wound in the neck. Officers and medics tried CPR but pronounced him dead at the scene.
A woman at the scene told police that Quinn had come into the residence from outside after being stabbed and told her that "Red Cloud," Quinn's cousin, Courville, had stabbed him.
Shortly afterward, Courville emerged from some bushes and identified himself to officers.
When detectives asked Courville what had happened, he said that he had been experiencing "a spiritual moment" when he grabbed a butcher knife from the residence and walked outside. While outside, Courville said, Quinn had called him a "bitch," so he stabbed him in the neck.
While detectives were interviewing Courville at the Auburn Justice Center he tried to escape by assaulting officer James Hamill, who was guarding him, and during the struggle Courville wrested Hamill's gun from its holster. Hamill, however, disarmed Courville before he could do any more harm.
Comments of relatives on both sides of the courtroom were remarkable for their restraint and compassion for the long-haired man in the dock, sitting slumped in his chair, long legs extended in front of him, often with head bowed.
As they grieved the life lost they also pleaded for what leniency the court could grant Courville and for the system to help him.
Oliver's own father asked that a no-contact order that had been imposed on Courville be lifted so he could visit him in prison.
"When this happened ... I not only lost a son, I lost a nephew because I haven't been able to see Brad. It is my wish that you lift that no-contact order so I can see him again," Brad Martin told the court.
McCullough granted the request.
Others noted that Courville's father had killed himself when the boy was 9 years old, and that as the years passed, he tried to blunt the edge of his deep depression and self-hatred with alcohol and drugs.
Oliver's mother, Sherry Gomez, wore a shirt with her son's picture on it.
"Losing my son was the worst thing in my life, and it was a great shock to all of us," Gomez said. "Quinn was no angel on earth — he is now. He had his problems and his flaws. But he was a good, loving man. He was a great son and a great uncle. We all miss him dearly. And I just hope that Brad can get the help that he needs, so that something like this doesn't happen again."
Leah Courville sobbed for Oliver and for her own son.
"My son's a good guy, and it was drugs, it wasn't him," Courville said. "There never was a day that went by that he didn't tell me that he loved me. He always hugged everybody. Even the family on that side tell me they know it wasn't him; it was the drugs. And they tell me they're praying for him. He's looking to God, and that's what's carrying us all through.
"A big part of us is missing too with Quinn because we loved him, too. He called me auntie ... I know Brad loved him," Leah Courville said.