Trial Opens In Slaying On Bothell Bike Trail

Rodney Gochanour was stabbed to death last year on the Burke-Gilman Trail for a "chilling" reason, a King County prosecutor told a jury yesterday in the opening statements of the Ian Simmers' first-degree murder trial.

"He did it for the thrill," deputy prosecuting attorney Jim Marner said. "The thrill of the kill."

Prosecutors allege Simmers, now 17, was hanging out on the trail in Bothell on March 11, 1995, when Gochanour, 35, walked by on his way home from a tavern.

"Rodney never made it home," Marner said. "As he approached a footbridge, Rodney was murdered."

Marner told jurors Gochanour was slashed in the chin and stabbed six times in the back with such force that it bent the blade of the kitchen knife.

Simmers, who had run away from his Carnation home at the time of the slaying, faces 20 years to life in prison if convicted.

Key to the prosecution's case is an alleged taped confession that Superior Court Judge Ann Schindler ruled was admissible in the trial.

On the tape, prosecutors say, Simmers described the crime, including how the knife bent when he stabbed Gochanour in the shoulder.

Marner said he will also call a man who was housed next to Simmers in the King County Jail. Kevin Olsen, he said, will testify that Simmers talked about the stabbing and said he did it for the thrill and because he liked the boots Gochanour was wearing.

Simmers' defense attorney, John Hicks declined to give an

opening statement.

In an interview, Hicks said the taped statement was problematic because police asked leading questions and because the evidence doesn't fit what Simmers said on the tape. Specifically, he said the knife was bigger than described by Simmers on the tape.