Tuesday, October 26, 2021
Oct. 26, 2021

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Vancouver man gets 21 years for attempted murder, robbery of step-grandfather

By , Columbian staff writer

A Vancouver man was sentenced Friday to 21 years in prison for attempting to kill his step-grandfather, robbing him and setting his house on fire.

Miccah McDowell, 24, pleaded guilty July 1 to second-degree attempted murder, first-degree robbery and first-degree arson.

Sion Wilson, 22, and Hayden Brewer, 23, are also facing similar charges for the June 2018 robbery.

Judge John Fairgrieve called the facts of the case “shocking” and said this is one of the more “egregious” attempted murder cases he’s seen.

“Candidly, I’m not sure how the victim survived this case,” Fairgrieve said at the sentencing. “Having looked at the medical records and his age and nature of his injuries, I tend to agree with (Prosecutor James) Smith, I’m rather amazed he survived. But his survival was not without continuing problems for him and his wife.”

Firefighters and Clark County Sheriff’s deputies were dispatched around 4 p.m. June 9, 2018, to a report of a vehicle on fire in the driveway of 6704 N.W. 192nd St. Then, the responders found small fires inside the home and gasoline poured throughout its interior. They found the homeowner, Robert Davis severely injured — with about 15 stab wounds and numerous defensive cuts — in the master bedroom shower, according to the affidavit.

McDowell was taken into custody at a Ridgefield gas station shortly after the robbery and stabbing. Brewer was taken into custody two days later; he allegedly was wearing a Rolex watch and gold chain belonging to Davis at the time.

In an interview with investigators, McDowell “admitted to planning the robbery of his grandparents with three other people including Hayden Brewer,” one version of a probable cause affidavits reads. In the newest affidavit, Wilson’s name was added after Brewer’s.

The plan, McDowell told detectives, was to scope out the house, and then he’d leave for work while the accomplices robbed the home of jewelry, cash and guns. Davis told investigators he watched McDowell walk away as two men struck him with guns. He said two men led him to the shower and stabbed him multiple times.

During sentencing, Fairgrieve said he considered the defense’s description of McDowell’s troubled upbringing and McDowell’s statement in court prior to sentencing apologizing to the victims and his family.

McDowell was 21 at the time of the crime, court records show.

Senior Deputy Prosecutor James Smith asked Fairgrieve for a sentence just over 22 years. Smith called McDowell the “instigator” and the “designer” of the plan to rob Robert Davis. Smith described the way McDowell, Wilson and Brewer allegedly left Davis for dead after beating him, stabbing him, shooting him and dousing him in gasoline before setting the house on fire.

In his statement to the judge, McDowell said anyone hurting Davis or setting his house on fire was not part of the plan.

Smith claimed the motive for the fire was to kill Davis so that he wouldn’t be able to identify his step-grandson in talks with police. McDowell was the only one of the three Davis knew, Smith said.

McDowell’s attorney asked the judge for an 18 year sentence, claiming his role in the crime was less than what Smith or even McDowell’s plea assert.

In his statement to the judge, McDowell said he drove himself, Wilson and Brewer to Davis’s house and left the house with them after they’d set it on fire. According to court records, the car that was on fire in Davis’s driveway was registered to McDowell.

Davis’s wife, Karen, arrived home to find the house on fire and her husband severely injured in a bathtub in the house, according to court records.

McDowell also told the judge of how he later turned himself in and was the first of the three men to take responsibility for the alleged crimes.

Wilson is scheduled for a change of plea hearing on Tuesday. Brewer has a trial scheduled for Aug. 30.