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Cutlip could get 15-23 years in prison

POULSBO — Casey Cutlip could serve 15 to 23 years in prison for killing his friend with three pistol shots to the head.

Cutlip, 58, was found guilty of second-degree murder in Kitsap County Superior Court on Dec. 11, after a 10-day jury trial. A sentencing hearing has been set for Dec. 27.

The standard range of sentence is 15 to 23 years. Tina Robinson, Cutlip’s public defender, said he will be credited for time already served.

Cutlip was charged with first-degree murder for shooting his friend, Darwin A. Dunker, 74, three times in the head on Feb. 21, 2012 at the Viking Crest Condominiums, where Dunker lived.

The two friends had participated in a Kiwanis Club event earlier in the day. Cutlip said he shot Dunker after his friend sexually propositioned him.

Cutlip called 911 after the shooting. He initially pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity. He later changed his plea to not guilty, asserting that Dunker’s advance triggered memories of childhood sexual abuse.

“It may look cut and dry, but it’s not necessary so,” said Tina Robinson, Cutlip’s public defender.

“There was a mental health defense based on diminished capacity. Part of that is due to the fact he suffered from post traumatic stress disorder from a trauma he suffered as a child, from being molested a couple of times as a young boy.”

Robinson said that the trauma from such childhood incidents lingered throughout his life.

In the prosecutor’s report on the case, Cutlip claimed that Dunker made sexual advances toward him while they were drinking. Cutlip refused and “finally snapped, went home and got his .22 cal Beretta, returned to Dunker’s apartment and shot him in the head,” according to the report.

Robinson said the shooting was the result of something more than a crime of passion, and was “totally out of character” for Cutlip.

“People know that Casey Cutlip was an upstanding man in the community,” Robinson said. “He participated in the community, he was Kiwanis president, and was friends with this person.”

She added, “It’s not a crime of passion. Something happened. Casey realizes that he has to deal with this stuff from his childhood. He’s been doing a lot of that because he certainly doesn’t want anything like this to happen again. He can’t comprehend how it happened.”

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