Cross pleads guilty to murder
October 2, 2008 · Updated 2:32 PM
SEATTLE _ Davya Cross will not go on trial for the stabbing deaths
of three Snoqualmie residents after telling a King County Superior
Court judge Monday he would plead guilty to three counts of first-degree
aggravated murder because he felt "responsible" for what happened.
In a document prepared for Judge Joan DuBuque, Cross, 41,
submitted "Alford pleas" to the three
murder counts and one count of first-degree kidnapping with a deadly
weapon. Under an Alford plea, a defendant pleads guilty to a charge because
there is enough evidence for a jury to convict the defendant.
"Like I said all along, I want to take responsibility for these crimes,"
Cross told DuBuque inside a courtroom at the King County Courthouse in
Seattle. However, he maintains the murders were not premeditated and he
has difficulty recalling exactly what took place the day of the murders.
DuBuque accepted Cross's pleas, saying his decision was
"voluntary" and he understood the
consequences of his pleading guilty.
"I am satisfied that he fully and completely and thoroughly
understands the seriousness of these circumstances," she said.
Despite the pleas, prosecutors will continue to seek the death penalty
for Cross, who they say intentionally stabbed and killed Amanda
Baldwin, 15, Salome Holly, 18, and their mother, Anouchka Baldwin, 37,
with a butcher knife on March 6, 1999, at their home on Southeast Reinig
Road. Cross also reportedly kidnapped Mellissa Baldwin, 14, and
threatened to harm her with the knife. He said another reason for his guilty pleas
was to save Mellissa Baldwin from having to testify in court.
"She's the one that suffered the most through all of this," he said.
Cross pleaded guilty to the charges against the advice of his
attorneys, Mark Larranaga and Richard Warner. Larranaga and Warner were
prepared to mount an insanity defense for a jury trial based on mental-health
evaluations performed by several experts.
By agreeing to the plea, Cross gave up his rights to have the charges
affirmed or denied by a jury. He also gave up his rights to be convicted
of lesser-included charges, which could have reduced his time in prison, if
Instead, a jury impaneled for a sentencing hearing will have only
two options in deciding Cross's fate: life in prison, or the death penalty.
During a break, Larranaga said Cross's Alford plea was the first
in Washington for a case of this nature. Alford pleas are typically used
during plea bargains with prosecutors and defendants. During the
hearing, DuBuque agreed that the case was breaking new ground.
"We keep charting new territory in this case," she said, adding, "In
this particular case, there is no plea bargain, so it is a different and
DuBuque spent most of Monday peppering Cross whose only
other conviction came on a 1989 recklessly endangering misdemeanor charge
in Clinton County, Penn. with questions about his guilty pleas to the
murder and kidnapping charges, which he mostly answered either "yes" or "no."
At times Cross appeared nonchalant about the hearing, humming
to himself as he was led out of the courtroom during an afternoon break
and rolling his head back and forth as DuBuque asked him questions.
He also showed his disdain for the prosecuting attorneys, Don Raz and
Tim Bradshaw, calling them "Bert and Ernie" and "faggots."
DuBuque first asked him about his current mental state and whether
any of the medications he is taking, including antibiotics and
antidepressants, influenced his decision to plead
guilty. Cross said they hadn't, although when DuBuque asked him if he was
under the influence of any illicit drugs, he said, "I wish I was."
He told the judge he has wanted to plead guilty for "the past year and
a half," and when questioned, he said he knew of no benefit he would
receive for his pleas.
"I don't see how I'd have an advantage," he said. "I'm not looking
for a benefit."
Before Monday's hearing, prosecutors and defense lawyers were
busy narrowing down a large jury pool to decide the guilt phase of Cross's
case. But instead of deciding his guilt or innocence, a jury, which has yet to
be selected, will determine whether Cross should face life in prison without
the possibility of parole or receive the death penalty.
At the sentencing hearing, both sides will have the opportunity
to present evidence and call witnesses. A date for the hearing has not