Chen appears in court to face First Hill murder charges — UPDATE: Pleads not-guilty

Lawyers for Louis Chen this morning entered a plea of not-guilty on two counts of aggravated murder as the 39-year-old doctor stood in a King County Courtroom. Judge Theresa Doyle had earlier denied a motion brought by Chen’s defense team to bar cameras from the courtroom for the arraignment. The legal process will resume with another hearing in November after the judge granted an extension for the defense to gather more evidence to show there is “no basis” for a death sentence in the case.

In the meantime, Chen will be held in King County Jail without bail.

Chen is represented by attorneys Raymond McFarland, Barry Flegenheimer, and Todd Maybrown.

Original Report: Dr. Louis Chen is scheduled to appear in a King County courtroom Monday morning for the first time to face charges that he murdered his partner and their two-year-old son in a bloody rampage inside the couple’s 17th-floor First Hill apartment.


(Images: CHS)

Eric Cooper, 29, and Cooper Chen, 2 (IMAGE: COURTESY OF VERNON O’REILLY RAMESAR / FACEBOOK VIA SEATTLE TIMES BY PERMISSION)

Chen and his lawyers will enter a plea on the two counts of aggravated murder the doctor faces in the deaths of Eric Cooper and Cooper Chen, their child. CHS detailed SPD’s account of the brutal murders here in which Chen is alleged to have stabbed his partner more than 100 times and stabbed his child to death. The bloody scene was discovered by a co-worker on the morning of August 11. SPD’s account includes an alleged confession by the injured Chen as he was whisked to the hospital.

If convicted, the 39-year-old faces life in prison and could face the death penalty. With the Monday morning plea, the clock will start ticking on King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg’s 30-day window to decide whether to seek capital punishment in the case.

UPDATE: The Seattle Times has connected with a friend of Eric Cooper who tells them that the relationship between Cooper and Chen had grown increasingly strained as separation loomed:

Additionally, while the couple had drawn up a legal agreement of separation before they left North Carolina, O’Reilly Ramesar said that Chen, when intoxicated, would threaten to renege on the agreement and “leave Eric out in the cold.”

When O’Reilly Ramesar and Cooper last communicated, on Aug. 9 — the day before Eric Cooper and Cooper Chen were killed — Cooper told his friend that things were getting “really unpleasant at home.”

Cooper was a “writer, a humorist and a champion for bullied kids,” O’Reilly Ramesar said. “He was a wonderful person and he deserves better than being thought of as some gay guy who got killed.”

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10 thoughts on “Chen appears in court to face First Hill murder charges — UPDATE: Pleads not-guilty

  1. “the judge granted an extension for the defense to gather more evidence to show there is “no basis” for a death sentence in the case.”

    Not that there IS no basis, but that the defense would like to prove there is no basis. Obviously, this is their job.

    I’m surprised he’s pleading not guilty. Considering it sounded like he confessed earlier, this is a pretty ballsy move.

  2. The reason for the not guilty plea is because the death penalty thing isn’t off the table yet. it’s not ballsy per se, it’s just a timing thing.

    I’m guessing he’s going for some sort of plea deal.

  3. Yeah, it’s just a formality. It doesn’t at all mean he won’t plead guilty to it later. Plus, we don’t know any of the circumstances of the event, and presumably there could be some mitigating ones. What they are, I couldn’t begin to say, but there could be some.

  4. Ahhh I get it. So, he pleads not guilty now, then as a condition for pleading guilty later they ask for no death penalty (among other things?)

    Definitely not a lawyer here. Obviously. :)

  5. It must be a humbling experience being in jail garb when you’re a doctor with all the good treatment that went with that.

    But I hope that he steps up to the plate, and doesn’t just work the system for all he can get.

    You did the crime — pay the cost, whatever it might be. That is the honorable way, and we would expect no less from you.

  6. Assuming he’s remorseful (and that was my impression from what I read), and not considered a threat–maybe in exchange for not seeking the death penalty, they should require him to be a prison doctor during his confinement….. Though I don’t know if that kind of thing is done.

  7. The only way he’s getting out of this is if he proves he’s crazy. I hope he gets the death penalty. He stabbed his partner over 100 times. He killed an baby by slashing his throat multiple times. Electric chair would be to good for Dr.Chen.

  8. I haven’t read anywhere that he admitted killing his child. The police officer on scene asked who stabbed his partner and himself and he repeated “I did”. No mention of his child, for all we know the partner killed the baby because he wasn’t going to get what he wanted and Chen killed him in a rage. Anybody touch my child and I could imagine stabbing him more than 100 times. Maybe at the loss of his son he tried to kill himself!