✔✔✔✔✔ There are chilling details emerging in Seattle, where a doctor who had just left Duke for a new job is facing the possibility of two murder charges.
In a formal hearing early Monday morning that replaced an emergency telephone proceeding this weekend, a judge reviewed documents from police and prosecutors, and found probable cause to hold Dr. Louis Chao Chen, a 39-year-old endocrinologist who had just finished a three year residency at Duke. Under procedural rules, he must be formally charged by Tuesday.
According to one document, a human resources manager (who is also a nurse) from Chen's new employer -- a group practice of 600 doctors at several locations plus a hospital -- went to his apartment when he failed to show for an orientation session.
Chen is said to have answered the door in his high rise apartment when the manager knocked -- staggering out nude and covered with blood. Earlier police said there were two 911 calls -- one asking merely for police to check out the apartment, the second asking for help. We have no explanation of the timing of the calls.
The first cop on the scene found Chen slumped in the doorway, his long-time gay partner, 29 year old Eric Cooper dead in the living room, and a bit later their adopted 2 year old son dead in the bathroom. The two dead had been stabbed. It's not clear how Chen got bloody -- in a fight or if he turned the knife on himself.
According to court papers, an officer administering first aid to Chen -- not knowing yet a child was dead in the bathroom -- asked, "Who stabbed you and your partner?" Chen replied, "I did," court records state. He then fell unconscious. His wounds are not considered life-threatening. Earlier, there was information he may have swallowed some pills.
Prosecutors succeed in having Chen held without bail, noting he has few ties to Seattle and relatives overseas, and thus is at risk to flee.
✔✔✔ Washington State still has the death penalty for certain degrees of murder. In fact the local papers this past week were filled with a debate whether to abolish it -- the arguments not being moral but financial, since it costs the government so much to prosecute a capital case. The defendant often has a court appointed attorney and is entitled to several stages of appeal.
Chen remained hospitalized Monday morning at Harborview Medical Center.
✔ Some Loyal Readers -- and people posting online on other websites -- have questioned how old Cooper was when he first started living with Chen. They point out that Cooper was 29 at his death -- and the two were living together in 2000 -- and possibly earlier -- when Chen was a medical student at the University of Chicago. FC has no answers.