Sunken boat and hazardous waste: Owner heads to court

SEATTLE -- Rory Westmoreland said little in a courtroom in King County Thursday afternoon, but prosecutors say his trail of destruction across Puget Sound says enough to put him in prison.

Westmoreland denied wrongdoing in connection to the sinking of a retired crab boat and storage of dozens of drums filled with waste on his property in Renton.

The state says flammable and corrosive waste was stored in a number of the 41 drums on the property. Westmoreland faces a felony and misdemeanor charges for that, which is just part of years of pollution according to neighbors.

"I couldn't even breathe from him burning that insides of cars and the insulation of stuff up there. All the time," said one neighbor.

In May of 2005, his retired crab vessel the Deep Sea caught fire and sank yards away from the famous Penn Cove shellfish beds off Whidbey Island. Prosecutors say Westmoreland failed to keep the boat from sinking in the vulnerable cove and he is facing a trial in Island County. His next court appearance is in August.

Westmoreland pled not guilty Thursday to the hazardous waste charges. He faces his next hearing later in May.