The King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office is charging Nathanial Scott, 32, with Murder In The Second Degree for the homicide of Robert Thomas, 36, whose body was found under the SR 509 overpass at S. 146th Street in Burien on Dec. 1, 2023.
As we previously reported, Scott was arrested by Washington State Patrol (WSP) Detectives on Jan. 11, 2024 for the stabbing death of Thomas.
According to charging documents, at the time of the homicide, Scott was a resident of the Sunnydale Village homeless encampment, located at Oasis Home Church in Burien.
Scott is currently in custody on bail of $500,000 – to mitigate flight risk and protect public safety – and his arraignment will be Jan. 31, 2024 at the Maleng Regional Justice Center in Kent.
“He (Scott) stabbed the victim, who he’d already disarmed, twice, in order to convince him to move aside,” charging documents say. “Each of those stabs hit a major artery in the leg, leaving the victim bleeding extensively. The defendant then fled the area, without making any effort to obtain help for the injured victim. As a result, the victim bled to death under the highway overpass. This willingness to use deadly force on a person who posed no immediate threat indicates that the defendant is likely to commit other violent offenses if released on his own recognizance.”
We reached out to the organizers at Sunnydale Village to confirm that Scott was a resident, and they provided the following statement:
“Information about those living at Sunnydale Village, including who is or is not a resident, is confidential for the safety and privacy of our residents. Sunnydale Village staff and residents have been actively cooperating with police to provide any information possible on investigations related to happenings in our area, and will continue to assist police however we can. We are committed to our goal of keeping everyone in our community safe, and we will continue working to that end.”
Details from Charging Documents:
- On Dec. 1, 2023, at approximately 18:50 hours, WSP troopers responded to a deceased male under the overpass at S. 146th Street and SR 509.
- Initial reports suggested a suspected overdose, but further examination revealed significant blood loss from the victim, identified as 36-year-old Robert F. Mitchell Thomas.
- A detective interviewed witnesses who discovered the body and reported the incident to 911. They interviewed a transient living at the Oasis camp, who told the detectives he went to the area under the overpass to use the restroom and found the body of Mr. Thomas. He described Mr. Thomas as stiff and cold to the touch and further stated he knew that he was deceased.
- Later in the night on that same day, Dec. 2, 2023, a deputy submitted a report which ultimately listed the names of two persons involved with the death of Mr. Thomas – Nathaniel Scott and Lauren Stuns – as persons possibly involved.
- On the morning of Dec. 4, 2023, a detective attended the autopsy of Mr. Thomas at the King County Medical Examiner’s Office. The medical examiner showed two separate and distinct puncture wounds to the left leg of Mr. Thomas. She informed verbally that Mr. Thomas sustained a cut to the medial branch of the femoral artery. She further stated the cause of death was stabbing and the manner of death was homicide.
- Over the course of the next several days interviews were conducted with members of the Oasis encampment who claimed to have knowledge of the incident and all stated Mr. Scott was the person who stabbed Mr. Thomas.
- On Dec. 21, 2023, a detective interviewed Mr. Scott and Ms. Stuns. The interviews were conducted at the King County Sheriff’s Office Burien Precinct, were recorded, and conducted post Miranda. During the interview of Mr. Scott, he indicated that Mr. Thomas was a person he did not know. He stated Mr. Thomas had come under the overpass and followed Ms. Stuns into their area. Mr. Scott and Ms. Stuns both described Mr. Thomas as “huffing” dust off and being out of it. Mr. Scott reported that Mr. Thomas was making sexually suggestive statements directed at Ms. Stuns, along with threats. Mr. Scott went on to describe Mr. Thomas as passing out and having a blank stare. He stated that after Mr. Thomas would huff, he would then talk in a low voice which was off-putting. He stated Mr. Thomas would repeat the same phrases and would have periods where he would faint or pass out.
- During an interview on Dec. 21, Mr. Scott stated Mr. Thomas had a knife and that he was able to get the knife away from Mr. Thomas by grabbing his wrist and then grabbing the blade and pulling the knife from Mr. Thomas’s grasp. Mr. Scott stated Mr. Thomas was seated near the entrance of the cardboard structure they were in, and he was blocking their entrance/exit. Mr. Scott went on to describe how he was holding the knife, blade back handle first, as he pushed past Mr. Thomas to exit the structure. He stated once past Mr. Thomas he grabbed his legs near the ankles and pulled him out of the structure as Ms. Stuns used her feet to push Mr. Thomas out of the structure. There is a significant downslope from the structure to the area with a cyclone fence. Mr. Scott stated Mr. Thomas scooted down and ended up in a standing position against the fence. According to Mr. Scott, Mr. Thomas then collapsed backwards against the fence and seemed to pass out. Mr. Scott and Ms. Stuns then gathered their belongings and left the area. Mr. Scott was asked what he did with the knife, and he informed detectives once he was on the trail heading towards the sidewalk her threw it out towards the blackberry bushes.
- On Jan. 6, 2024, a team with the King County Sheriff’s Office’s Search and Rescue team came to the area south of the homicide scene and conducted an evidence recovery mission around the blackberries. They found a a K-bar style knife with a black-taped handle approximately 65 feet from the bridge in a grassy area between the sidewalk and bushes. The knife was similar in description to the knife described by Mr. Scott. The area where the knife was recovered is an area Mr. Scott and Ms. Stuns would have walked past while leaving the scene.
- On Jan. 11, 2024, a detective conducted a second interview with Mr. Scott at the Tukwila office of the Washington State Patrol. During this interview, he confronted Mr. Scott with inconsistencies and contradictions in his statements during the Dec. 21 interview.
- Ultimately, Mr. Scott stated he was using the knife as a deterrent to let Mr. Thomas know he wanted him to move out of the way. He stated he poked Mr. Thomas twice in the leg and once in the hand. Mr. Scott said he knew poking Mr. Thomas would break the skin and cause an injury but did not expect it to hurt him vitally. He said after he stabbed Mr. Thomas, he expected him to react and move away but he didn’t. At which point Mr. Scott pushed past Mr. Thomas and drug him out of the structure while Ms. Stuns used her feet to push him towards the embankment. Mr. Scott said he had to wipe the blood off his hands onto his shirt and there was probably blood on his jeans, but he was not sure. During the interview Mr. Scott never described being in fear for his life and said he just wanted to leave the area and Mr. Thomas was blocking the way.