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Title: Prosecutors seek 33-year sentence for Norris

Source: Eastside Journal (Bellevue, WA), November 1st, 1997

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Copyright 1997 Horvitz Newspapers Inc.
11/1/97

Prosecutors seek 33-year sentence for Norris
By Carol Ryan
Journal Reporter

The people closest to David Norris and his ex-girlfriend say he should be sent to prison for his knife and hammer attack on her six months ago. They disagree how long he should stay there.

Now, King County Superior Court Judge Marilyn Sellers will decide whether to consider his crime or his character when sentencing the 21-year-old Bellevue man.

At a sentencing hearing yesterday, members of the former couple's families fought back tears while they described how their lives had changed since the April attack that left the girl with a fractured skull, collapsed lung and multiple stab wounds.

The victim and her mother say they no longer trust anyone. Norris' mother and sister pleaded for forgiveness, at one point, directly from the victim.

“You have no idea how very sorry we all are for what has occurred between you and David,'' Jackie Norris told the girl.  She said she was thankful the girl's injuries were not worse.

“I know as much as the two of you loved each other, some day you will be able to find it in your heart to forgive him for this,'' she said.

Prosecutors want a 33-year sentence for Norris, whom jurors found guilty last month of first-degree attempted murder and first-degree burglary for the attack.  The term would be 10 years longer than the top of the standard range for his crimes.

In seeking the exceptional sentence, prosecutors point to the detailed plan Norris drew up before the attack, the letters he wrote to his family, the victim's family and friends apologizing for his actions and the weapons he covered in black tape before going to the girl's house.

Norris' attorney Kevin Hogan also wants Sellers to impose an exceptional sentence, but of seven years, well below the standard range of 18 to 23 years.

Mental health professionals diagnosed Norris with personality disorders rooted in his insecurity and vulnerability to rejection that contributed to his actions, Hogan said
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Norris had no police record prior to the attack and was known for his quiet kindness to family and friends, Hogan added.

Sellers was supposed to set Norris' sentence yesterday, but continued the hearing to Nov. 14 because she said she needed more time to review attorneys' recommendations.

Norris' ex-girlfriend, now 17, and her mother told Sellers how fearful they have become since Norris' attack, while Norris' sister and mother described the youngest of their family as gentle and kind.

The girl, whose face bears scars from the attack, works out her emotional pain by painting a wall in her room, her mother said.

“The lack of being able to trust anyone ever, it has been incredibly devastating,'' her mother said.

The girl's younger siblings, especially her brother, who at 14 had to hold towels to his sister's bleeding head, also remain fearful.

“My son, because of this, had to drop out of high school,'' the girl's mother said. “ He's fearful of ever trusting anyone as he trusted David.''

The victim described not being able to sleep in the bedroom where the attack occurred after her release from the hospital.

“I was so scared I would stay up all night,'' she said.

“I have a titanium plate in my head. That's only supposed to happen to war heroes, not to 17-year-old girls,'' she said.

Norris' oldest sister, Kathy Carr, traveled from her Utah home to plead her case for a merciful sentence. Norris' break-up with the girl turned him into another person, Carr said.

Role-playing games in which Norris and the girl portrayed vampires and other dark characters also had an effect, Carr said.

“I feel this contributed to the deterioration of my brother's spirit,''  Carr said. “ I know that he is not an animal.''
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