TACOMA, WA – Today Jaycee Fuller, 37, was sentenced to 25 years in prison for killing cab driver Mohamud Ahmed. In November, a jury convicted Fuller of murder in the first degree.
Prosecutor Mark Lindquist and Deputy Prosecutor Erika Nohavec tried the case, arguing to the jury that Fuller was motivated by financial desperation and his anger toward immigrants. On March 8, 2009, Fuller attempted to rob Ahmed and killed him by slitting his throat and stabbing him in the liver.
Ahmed was a refugee from Somalia who came to the United States in search of a better life. In the early morning hours of March 8, 2009, he picked up his last fare, Fuller. Police later found Ahmed dead outside of his cab with the meter still running. At the murder scene, police found a Keg restaurant cap. Ahmed’s blood was outside the cap, and the defendant’s DNA was inside the cap.
The Keg cap with the defendant’s DNA was the linchpin in a multifaceted case presented by prosecutors, which relied on more than 30 witnesses, video evidence, GPS readings, and DNA.
The defendant testified, denying the killing and professing revulsion at the sight of blood. In closing argument, the defendant, representing himself, spoke for nearly four hours. He argued that the evidence was circumstantial, the evidence pointing to him was coincidental or false, and people were out to get him.
In a 20 minute rebuttal, Prosecutor Lindquist called this “the unluckiest man alive” defense. The jury deliberated for approximately an hour before convicting the defendant of premeditated murder in the first degree.
At sentencing, Mr. Ahmed's uncle spoke about the irony of his nephew escaping the violence of Somalia only to be murdered in his new country. He said Mr. Ahmed's family and friends were now relying on the United States legal system for justice.
Prosecutor Lindquist, arguing for a high end sentence of nearly 30 years, said, "This was a savage, up-close crime." The defendant, arguing for low end, referred to himself as the real “victim.” Judge Culpepper, who presided over the trial, imposed a mid-range sentence of 25 years.
Assistant to Prosecutor Mark Lindquist
Pierce County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office