A King County Superior Court judge sentenced the woman who killed the son of a Seattle police officer in Sammamish’s Beaver Lake Park to less than five years in jail.
Judge Regina Cahan sentenced Ka’Deidre Alana Rials, 24, to a total of 53-and-a-half months for one charge of deadly hit-and-run and one charge of identity theft, as per the recommendation of the prosecution.
Rials, of Kent, had last month pleaded guilty to both charges in a plea bargain that saw two counts of second-degree vehicle prowling dropped.
In January 2017, Rials fatally ran over Moises “Mo” Radcliffe, 22 at the time, with an SUV in the parking lot of Beaver Lake Park.
Radcliffe and his girlfriend Marrissa Bailey had caught Rials and two teenagers breaking into Radcliffe’s car and stealing Bailey’s purse. Radcliffe pulled a gun out of his trunk and confronted the prowlers as they hurried into their SUV. Rials, who was driving, then ran over Radcliffe and fled the scene.
Less than an hour later, Rials and the two suspects stopped at a Renton Fred Meyer and used stolen credit cards belonging to Bailey to make purchases.
Though one of the teenage suspects claimed to police that she and the other people in the SUV did not realize they had hit anyone, a police examination “indicated that Radcliffe was dragged beneath the SUV for a considerable distance,” according to court documents.
Friday’s sentencing saw a packed courtroom; around 50 people, family and friends of both Radcliffe and Rials, filled the benches. About 10 of those people were uniformed Seattle police officers, colleagues of Radcliffe’s father.
During Friday’s sentencing, several friends and family members of Radcliffe’s spoke of how much they missed the young man; the common thread in each of their speeches was Radcliffe’s kindness.
“Mo Radcliffe was my best friend. He was essentially my other half,” said Daniel Castillo of Issaquah. “He was one of the kindest people you would ever meet.”
Castillo said that he had moved to Bellingham to go to school at Western Washington University, but has now moved back home due to depression that has afflicted him since his friend’s death.
Castillo’s fiancée Emily Meboe also testified to Radcliffe’s compassion, describing how once, when she was feeling sad and missing Castillo, Radcliffe had taken her to the park and to dinner at a ramen restaurant to cheer her up.
“We did everything together; we went to concerts, we planned our future,” she said, adding that “he could be friends with everyone.”
Robert Stevenson II of Cheney said that he had known Radcliffe since kindergarten. The day that Radcliffe died, Stevenson was going to text his friend and invite him to come to a concert for Stevenson’s birthday.
“It hurts that he isn’t here anymore,” Stevenson said. “I can’t talk to him about the things I used to. I can’t have him be the best man at my wedding.”
Marrissa Bailey, Radcliffe’s girlfriend, was crying so hard that she was barely able to describe her love for Radcliffe.
“I really wish he was here … and I could talk to him,” she managed to say between sobs.
Duaine Bailey of Maple Valley told the story of how his daughter, then 22, had met Radcliffe, a man whose “sense of humor could put smiles on everyone’s faces.” In love and pursuing a college education, Marrissa Bailey felt that life couldn’t get any better, he said.
“Marrissa had met a fine young man who was remarkably kind, well-spoken and enjoyed the outdoors as much as we do,” he said. “It was the happiest I’ve ever seen her.”
Then in January 2017, Marrissa Bailey watched as her boyfriend was violently killed in the parking lot of a Sammamish park. Duaine Bailey said that overnight, the spark went out of his daughter’s eyes.
“Ms. Rials made a decision that reflects her attitude for life and the law,” he said. “Ms. Rials did what comes naturally to her, disregarding the law and causing hurt and pain to others.”
He pointed to Rials’ decision to use his daughter’s credit cards to go shopping within an hour of committing the hit-and-run.
“This is not the action of a person who made a mistake,” he said. “This is the action of a cold, callous individual.”
Duaine Bailey asked for Rials to receive a longer sentence than the recommended 53-and-a-half months so that her “future victims” could be “protected” from her.
Mo Radcliffe’s mother and father were the last to speak. Todd Radcliffe described adopting his son at age 7 from an orphanage in Guatemala.
“The world will forever be a lesser place,” Todd Radcliffe said.
Mo Radcliffe’s mother Cathy Whiteman summarized, simply, “We are broken people.”
Rials’ family and friends also gave testimony, saying that Rials had had time to repent and reflect on her actions while in jail, and pointing to her role as a mother of a young son.
“My daughter is a very good person and has provided for her 5-year-old son,” said Deidre Riggs, Rials’ mother. “She is very remorseful for her actions. Not a day or night goes by that she doesn’t pray for forgiveness from the Radcliffe family.”
Deidre Riggs compared Rials’ separation from her son while in jail to the pain that the Radcliffes feel having lost their son.
Rials’ uncle, Maurice Riggs, said that he was very sorry for the Radcliffes, but noted that Rials had made a mistake and that “everyone goes through things like that.”
“She shouldn’t be treated like someone who’s not accepted,” he said.
Rials spoke in her own defense, telling the Radcliffes, “I am a parent, so I know there is nothing I can do that will … ease your loss.”
Rials said that she would in the future “do whatever it takes so I don’t end up back in jail,” and that she plans to use her own experiences to act as a mentor so that she can “show younger people that there is an alternative to the fast lane.”
“I am not a malicious person, I am not a violent person, I am not a murderer,” she said.
Judge Cahan said how unique it was to hear how everyone brought up Radcliffe’s kindness first.
“I am so sorry for your loss,” she told his loved ones. “He sounds like a remarkable human being. I can’t even imagine how it feels to lose a child.”
Cahan then told Rials that she didn’t think of her as a “monster,” but advised the young woman to “think about the kindness of Mo” and reform her life when she gets out of jail.
“Sharing your story later in life would be a real godsend,” Cahan said. “I hope you do do that.”
After the sentencing, Radcliffe’s loved ones said that they had hoped for a longer sentence for Rials.
“I wish she would’ve gotten more, but what can you do?” Castillo said.