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Originally published Thursday, October 4, 2012 at 9:13 PM

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Corrected version

Teen convicted in 'Tuba Man' death back in jail again

Billy Chambers, one of three people who as juveniles pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter in the 2008 fatal beating of Ed "Tuba Man" McMichael, is in trouble with the law again.

Seattle Times staff reporter

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Two weeks after being released from prison, Billy Chambers is back in lockup again.

Chambers, now 19, was one of three juveniles who pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter in the October 2008 fatal beating of Ed "Tuba Man" McMichael, a beloved fixture known for playing his tuba outside Seattle sporting events.

Since spending nearly 18 months at Maple Lane School in Centralia for McMichael's death and another robbery on the same night, Chambers has been arrested at least five times and convicted of crimes on two separate occasions.

Most recently, he was released from the Monroe Correctional Complex on Sept. 18 after serving roughly two-thirds of his 22-month sentence on an attempted second-degree-assault charge, according to Chad Lewis, a spokesman for the state Department of Corrections.

Chambers pleaded guilty to the charge last October, admitting that he deliberately rammed a woman's car in June 2011 after she reported him to police for an earlier car prowl.

Wednesday afternoon, King County sheriff's deputies stopped a car Chambers was driving near Southwest 150th Street and First Avenue South in Burien after someone reported that he and a companion had stolen items out of a vehicle, according to a probable-cause statement outlining the police case. Deputies performed a "safety check" on the Chambers' car and discovered an assault rifle in the trunk, the statement says.

On the advice of defense counsel, Chambers waived his presence at his first court appearance Thursday to avoid being photographed.

King County District Court Judge Susan Mahoney found probable cause that Chambers committed a car prowl and set Chambers' bail at $50,000. But Mahoney said she was concerned about the manner in which deputies found the weapon, questioning how a check performed to protect officer safety led deputies to the car's trunk.

She did not find probable cause on investigation of unlawful possession of a firearm, which was the original charge that Chambers was booked into the King County Jail on.

According to the probable-cause statement, deputies sealed and impounded Chambers' car and requested a warrant to search it.

Dan Donohoe, a spokesman for the King County Prosecuting Attorney's Office, said prosecutors will review the entire case when it is submitted by the Sheriff's Office and determine whether a firearms charge is warranted. Chambers has been notified at least three times of his ineligibility to possess guns, court records show.

In July 2010, Chambers, then 17, and two other teens were arrested and charged with robbing a man at gunpoint in downtown Seattle. Chambers later pleaded guilty to first-degree theft and was sentenced to eight months in juvenile detention.

Sara Jean Green: 206-515-5654 or

Seattle Times news researcher Miyoko Wolf contributed to this report, which includes information from Times archives.

Information in this article, originally published Oct. 4, 2012, was corrected Oct. 5, 2012. A headline on a previous version of this story incorrectly referred to Billy Chambers, 19, as a juvenile.

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