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Abuse of Discretion -

Photo showing the door was not burned (scroll to bottom for more photos)











   Click Here   to see Dr. DeHaan's Curriculum Vitae




























 Invoice from Sheryl Gordon McCloud showing correspondence regarding missing trial testimony:













 Photos of the Motel Room Door



 Photo 36 shows the door after clean-up






 Photo #32 depicts the general area with a blue van parked in front of Room #119.




Photos 29, 30, 31 and 37 depict darkening of the painted surface of the door and adjacent wall and the door step or threhold.

















© Steven Darby McDonald 2012
  1. Click on any one of the following color photographs for an enlargement of the “crime scene” that resulted in Mr. McDonald receiving a mandatory life sentence for doormat burning and allegedly burning the van in the parking lot. One would think that if you were an attorney representing a client charged with a crime which could result in a mandatory life sentence, you would want an appellate court to see these photographs so you could point out that “half” the motel room door was not on fire as the “victim” alleged and the van was not fire, only the mud flap was. In fact, none of the door was on fire, only the paint had melted at the base while the black sticky rubber smoke from the burning doormat stuck to the surface of the white door.
  1. This occurred before Mr. McDonald saw the fire, and according to Mrs. Clarke, “pulled the mat away from the door and I heard it go ca-plunk.” You can see in the photographs 29 and 30 where Mr. McDonald pulled the mat away and it fell against the right-hand side of the wall and stained the cement with soot. He then called 91 and went back outside and smoked a cigarette.
  1. But not if you’re attorney Sheryl Gordon McCloud and you are working in conjunction with the prosecution to defeat any chance your client might have in proving his innocence and showing that state witness Edith Clarke was lying. [1]
  1. So she chose not to compel the production of this critical forensic evidence or mention its existence in her appellate briefs to ensure Mr. McDonald’s conviction was affirmed on appeal. What she did do was to file a notice to the court clerk to prepare a record of all trial exhibits to be sent to the appellate court, and then had her secretary, Donna, call the Skagit County Clerk and tell her not to send the trial exhibits showing these color photographs of the motel room door and blue van. A note in the clerk’s file says as much: “Received call from Donna at SGM’s office and she says not to send the trial exhibits. Tina Clark.” (Skagit County Clerk). further, they are not logged out of evidence on the transmittal form.
  1. Attorney McCloud didn’t stop there to ensure that Mr. McDonald could not prove his innocence. She even refused to inform the appellate court that forensic arson expert, John DeHaan’s trial testimony concerning whether or not the motel room door had been on fire, was removed from the record on appeal, so this issue could not be presented to the court at this juncture.
  1. Despite the fact that Dr. DeHaan had personally called her and informed her it was no longer part of the record on appeal.
  1. Because of her abandonment, Mr. McDonald could not collect a proper affidavit about these facts and the missing color photographs of the motel room door for over five years: long after his time period to appeal had expired.
  1. Dr. DeHaan’s August 2004 and new October 2010 affidavits follow this article and attest his trial testimony is no longer part of the record, and exactly what that trial testimony was: that the motel room door was never on fire.
  1. So if you are considering retaining Ms. McCloud to represent you on appeal, you best think twice because this individual is not honest, and as her own brief shows, works both sides of the fence so her other clients might win their appeals, in exchange for you losing yours.
  1. No matter how innocent you are!
  1. If the above isn’t enough to show something is seriously flawed about this case, then go to the official WA/DOC WSP website, that costs you $10 to view their "facts" of this incident, and pull up the overview of this case presented by prosecutors Thomas Verge and Eric Pederson that reads like something straight out of Alice in Wonderland.
  1. They claim Mr. McDonald burned the doormat and van and stood there smoking a cigarette watching because of noise complaints he made against Mrs. Clarke all night long.
  1. First, a casual glance at photo #32 shows the Clarke’s blue van is not burned at all. Only the mud flap is. Second, arresting detectives Tobin Ruxton put false inculpatory facts of a non-existent confrontation between Mrs. Clarke and Mr. McDonald in his affidavit of PC, claiming: “Mr. McDonald contacted Mrs. Clarke at 1:30 a.m. complaining she was making noise. She was frightened of his early morning contact. She had another noise complaint from the manager from Mr. McDonald complaining she was making noise at 11:00 p.m..” VRP 729-732, 756-757.
  1. Mrs. Clarke and Manager Stevens both came to court and categorically denied any of the above taking place. VRP 80-81, 382-383.
  1. Yet the WA/DOC failed to verify the veracity of the above information before they sought to demonize Mr. McDonald on their website for conduct which he did not do and which was known to be false.
  1. Washington State citizens deserve better than to have their prosecuting attorneys deliberately set forth known-to-be-fraudulent facts on an official DOC summary concerning the crime a person received a mandatory life sentence for, just to try and justify it to the public.
  1. They’re culpable for this wrongdoing and many others as explained throughout this site, and should be held accountable in a court of law.
© Steven Darby McDonald 2012

[1] Ms. Clarke also tried to shake Mr. McDonald down in prison by calling his classification officer, Mr. Gonzales, and telling him that she would tell the truth about the incident if he bought her a new van, which she admitted at trial because she thought Mr. Gonzalez was going to testify: “I might have.” VRP 94-97.