911 calls show man accused in Lake City murder may have been in mental distress

Police surround a home in Seattle's Lake City neighborhood where officers are investigating a homicide after a fire on Monday, Jan. 15, 2018. (Photo: KOMO News)

SEATTLE - A Bellevue man accused of killing a woman in Lake City earlier this month pleaded not guilty to aggravated murder Wednesday.

Michael Giordano, 23, is accused of torturing and killing Jennifer Ayers on Jan. 15. Seattle police say it appears Ayers, 63, was targeted at random.

Though Giordano is charged with aggravated murder, which could bring one of two sentences – life in prison without parole or death – he will not face the death penalty.

King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg told KOMO that he spoke with Ayers’ family and they do not wish to pursue the death penalty. Satterberg is also behind a push in the Legislature to abolish the death sentence.

It’s unclear whether Giordano’s mental competency will play a role in his case.

KOMO has obtained a recording of a 911 call made by Giordano’s father several days before the slaying. The man is heard pleading for Kirkland police to help him track his son down and get him into a mental health treatment facility.

In the 911 recording, Jim Giordano can be heard describing his son’s features and asking to have an officer sent to find him. The man told the dispatcher that his son had been living homeless in Seattle but had agreed to be checked into Fairfax Behavioral Health then changed his mind.

“He’s in pretty bad shape. He’s been on the streets for a couple of days and he’s still high on drugs and he’s not thinking clearly. He might be a danger to himself,” Jim Giordano said on the recording.

Jim Giordano told the dispatcher his son was bipolar and might be armed with a knife. He said his son “is a ward of the mental health court of King County.”

He told the dispatcher he thought his son would be heading toward a bus line. Jim Giordano hangs up once police arrive.

It’s unclear where Giordano went between the day his father searched for him outside Fairfax and the day of the slaying.

Seattle police went to Ayers’ home the morning of Jan. 15 to return her credit card and grocery store card which were found scattered on the ground a few blocks away. Hearing a fire alarm and seeing smoke officers went into the home through an unlocked door.

Police found a small fire inside the home and Ayers body, charges said. The house looked like it had been ransacked, police said.

A source tells KOMO that soon after finding Ayers’ body officers identified Giordano as a person of interest.

Giordano, police said, had talked to authorities a few blocks from Ayers’ house about 90 minutes before her body was found.

A man in the 10700 block of 36th Avenue Northeast had dialed 911 earlier that morning after seeing a man bleeding from his hands on the stretch of roadway in front of his home, according to court charging paperwork. A member of the family talked to the bleeding man and he said he had been mugged near Nathan Hale High School, the documents said.

The bleeding man identified himself as Michael Giordano to medics, charging paperwork said. Giordano was released.

At around 5 p.m. police were called to Third Avenue South and South Main Street, in Pioneer Square, for a report of Seattle firefighters talking to a man with the same name as the person of interest. The man had a bandage around his hand, charges said.

Giordano is expected to return to court next month

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