Brett Forsell was sentenced to 364 days in King County Jail before being placed on probation for 24 months.
SEATTLE — A Seattle man pleaded guilty on Thursday to stalking in a case involving U.S. Representative Pramila Jayapal.
Brett Forsell was sentenced to 364 days in King County Jail, followed by 24 months of probation. Forsell must also be assessed for substance abuse, alcohol abuse, and mental health.
In addition, Forsell was not to have any contact with Jayapal and was ordered not to violate any further criminal laws. As part of his plea, he agreed to an anti-tracking order, which includes an eight-year ban on gun possession. He was ordered to surrender any weapons.
On July 9, Jayapal and her husband heard loud screams from outside their home in West Seattle around 10:30 p.m., according to court documents. Jayapal’s husband, Steve Williamson, went out on the front porch to investigate and the pair heard male voices shouting obscenities and saying “Let’s go back to India.”
The pair also heard a voice telling Jayapal to harm herself and other comments accusing her of being a communist. When Williamson opened the door, he said one of the men got back into the car the other man was driving and sped away.
Jayapal reported the incident to 911 and said a similar incident happened in front of her home the previous weekend, July 2.
Later that night, a car turned around and sped on Jayapal’s road, revving up before coming to a stop in her driveway, according to court documents. Williamson heard a metallic sound similar to that of a bullet or a bb gun hitting metal.
Williamson told Jayapal to go upstairs for her safety and call 911. Williamson said the man was aggressive and was getting out of his car and heading towards the couple’s driveway.
Soon after, Seattle police arrived on the scene and arrested Forsell for malicious harassment.
A neighbor of Jayapal said she heard Forsell say something similar to “Go back to India” and threaten to kill Jayapal, according to court documents.
The neighbor also reported that one of the men she believed to be Forsell was setting up a tent.
Forsell later told Seattle FBI agents that he went to pick up his son on the night of July 9 and directed the boy to drive past Jayapal’s home, according to court documents. Forsell admitted to shouting obscenities but declined to comment on Jayapal’s race or ethnicity, or tell Jayapal to harm himself. Forsell also admitted to driving past Jayapal’s house and shouting obscenities another time. He said his only bias toward Jayapal was her political beliefs and her status as a democrat, according to court documents.
Forsell said he later returned home and got into an argument with his mother, who told him to leave the house, according to court documents. Forsell told FBI agents that he returned to Jayapal’s property and began pitching a tent across the street from her house.
Forsell also said he drank alcohol that night and struggled with mental illness, according to court documents. Forsell described his actions towards Jayapal as “manifestations of a manic episode.”
Video provided by Williamson to investigators captured two voices shouting obscenities in front of Jayapal’s home, including one commenting with the word “India,” but investigators could not be sure. sure if it was Forsell’s voice, according to court documents.
According to court documents, Forsell was armed with a .40 caliber Glock semi-automatic pistol with a live bullet in the chamber while outside the agent’s home.
The police investigation did not refer the hate crime case to the King County Prosecutor’s Office. According to court documents, a Seattle Police Department investigator noted he did not believe a hate crime or malicious harassment was committed.