Homeowner pleads not guilty to killing teen

He claims shooting was self-defense

By Paris Achen, Columbian courts reporter

Published:

 

A Vancouver homeowner pleaded not guilty today in Clark County Superior Court to killing a Portland teen he claims was a car prowler.

Sean H. Doucette, 27, was charged with second-degree murder in the shooting death of Iosif Dumitrash, 19, of Portland.

Doucette, who was out of jail on $250,000 bail, wore a black suit to his hearing in front of Judge Daniel Stahnke. His private defense attorney, Steven Thayer, was by his side.

His trial is tentatively scheduled for May 13.

More than a dozen of Dumitrash's family and friends, all dressed in black, watched from the public gallery. Afterwards, they met with a victim's advocate in the courthouse hallway to discuss the next steps in the case. Dumitrash's mother, wearing a traditional Eastern European babushka headscarf, wiped tears from her eyes.

Dumitrash was the youngest in a family of 11 children that immigrated from Moldova when he was a baby. Seven of his siblings, his parents, a niece and nephew and some friends attended today's hearing.

Doucette claims that Dumitrash was breaking into a vehicle. Thayer has said the teen attacked Doucette, and that his client shot Dumitrash in self-defense.

Dumitrash's family says the teen was visiting friends in Vancouver that night. The teen had no criminal history in Clark County.

Vancouver police received a call just before 4 a.m. Jan. 29 of a person prowling near Doucette's home at 14802 N.E. 33rd St. Four minutes later, they got another call that Doucette had shot Dumitrash.

Another witness, unnamed in court records, told investigators that Doucette and Dumitrash had fallen to the ground during an altercation. Then, the two separated and Dumitrash tried to get away, according to records. That's when Doucette shot him, the records state.

Dumitrash was shot in the chest, according to the Clark County Medical Examiner's Office. Senior Deputy Prosecutor Camara Banfield has said he was shot four times.

At the time of his death, Dumitrash was working on earning a GED and planned to attend Slavic Bible School in Florida in June, his sister said.