Charges dismissed against man accused in 2022 Vashon knife threat

Prosecutors dismissed charges against a man accused of threatening another islander with a knife.

King County prosecutors have dismissed charges against a man originally accused last year of threatening another islander with a knife.

Brian Laur was charged with felony harassment on Aug. 17, 2022, over allegations he brandished a knife and threatened to kill an islander at King County’s Metro Park and Ride located at 20221 Vashon Highway SW. He pled not guilty.

Prosecutors took Laur to trial on June 26, 2023, concluding July 6. But juror deliberations ended July 7 with a mistrial declared, as the jury deadlocked and could not come to a decision as to whether Laur was guilty or not guilty.

“There doesn’t appear to be a path to a unanimous decision with the evidence presented,” jurors wrote in an inquiry document to the court the day the mistrial was declared.

Ultimately, eight jurors voted guilty; three voted not guilty, and one was undecided, according to the prosecutor’s office.

On September 22, the King County Prosecutor dismissed the charges against Laur.

“King County prosecutors spent more than 10 months working diligently on this case, which included filing the original charge and the multiple months of working with witnesses, arguing pretrial motions, and preparing for trial,” prosecutor’s office spokesperson Douglas Wagoner wrote in an email.

Prosecutors “took the jury’s inability to reach a verdict into consideration, in addition to all of the available evidence, and determined that it would be unlikely for a future trial to yield a different result,” Wagoner wrote. “That reality may understandably feel disappointing to some, and in every case that comes to our office, we have a responsibility to only pursue cases that we reasonably believe we can convince a jury of beyond a reasonable doubt.”

Attempts to reach Laur and his attorneys in the case were unsuccessful.

Trial perspectives

A trial brief filed by Laur’s defense attorneys in the case explained that Laur lost his job and his home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, ultimately resorting to living in his two cars, which he parked temporarily at the Vashon Island Park-and-Ride — “one of the few places on the island where the police would not immediately tow his vehicles,” attorneys wrote. But before he could gather his things and drive to his mother’s home in Bremerton, his cars were burglarized by thieves, setting him back again.

Unable to afford gas or ferry fare to get his cars off the island, attorneys wrote, Laur saved up money performing day jobs. Sitting unused, the cars began accumulating mechanical issues. Laur was repairing the tires of one car on Aug. 13, 2022, when he was asked to turn down his loud music — at the time, people were parking in the park-and-ride lot to walk to a summer festival near the Country Store. Laur declined to turn the music down and kept working, which involved using a knife to strip wire, defense attorneys said.

Defense attorneys argued Laur was pestered by a man who stood outside his car door and threatened to force him to turn the music down or come back later to “deal with him.” Prosecutors and police say Laur had been cursing at people trying to park at the Park and Ride, and alleged Laur had retrieved the knife and told a victim to back up, threatening to kill that person when asked to turn his music down. They also pointed to Laur’s two prior convictions for third-degree assault and third-degree theft.