The Blotter

The Times' criminal justice team looks behind the scenes and behind the headlines.

August 16, 2011 at 9:50 AM

Physician charged in slayings of partner, toddler son

Posted by John de Leon

Charging documents

-- From Times staff reporter Christine Clarridge:

Dr. Louis C. Chen was charged Tuesday with two counts of aggravated murder in connection with the deaths of his partner Eric Cooper and their 2-year-old son last week in their First Hill apartment.

If convicted, Chen could face either life in prison or the death penalty.

The bodies of Cooper, 29, and the couple's son were found last Thursday in their First Hill penthouse. In charging documents, prosecutors allege that Cooper was stabbed at least 100 times, including on his face, neck, chest, back and hands. The child suffered numerous cuts to his neck, charging documents say.

Police and prosecutors allege and that as many as five knives may have used in the attack: "All of the knives had reddish-brown stains on them that appeared to be blood," according to the charging documents.

The apartment manager was contacted by Chen's sister on Thursday because she had not heard from him in three days, according to the charges. The manager knocked on the door of the penthouse apartment and was told to come back in an hour, court documents allege. The manager told Chen that his sister was trying to reach him, court documents allege.

The sister also called a manager at Virginia Mason Medical Center, whom Chen was to have met with that morning for orientation for a new job. When the hospital representative arrived at the apartment, both she and the apartment manager went to the apartment where Chen eventually opened the door and the bodies were discovered, according to prosecutors.

Autopsies have been performed on the victims, according to the charging documents, but the King County Medical Examiner's Office has not released information relating the case, including the date of the victims' deaths. In charging documents, however, prosecutors allege that the murders occurred between Aug. 8 and Aug. 11.

Prosecutors have asked that Chen be held without bail, saying that he has close ties to his native Taiwan and has the financial means to flee.

Chen remains in Harborview Medical Center with an undisclosed injury. After he is released from the hospital, he will be booked into the King County Jail, according to the King County Prosecutor's Office. His arraignment is scheduled for Aug 29.

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