'Man in tree' is charged
SEATTLE — The 25-hour saga of a man who refused to come down from a giant sequoia tree in downtown Seattle was "an incalculable waste of time and services," authorities said.
Cody Lee Miller was formally charged Monday with malicious mischief and assault after he climbed to the top of the 90-foot tree on March 22 and remained there for about 25 hours, ignoring police efforts to coax him down and throwing apples and branches at responders.
The drama sparked intense interest on social media, with new Twitter accounts and the hashtag #ManInTree trending.
About $8,000 in damage was done to the tree, court documents say. If Miller makes his $50,000 bail, he is ordered to have no contact with the tree.
Miller's mother, Lisa Gossett of Wasilla, Alaska, told The Seattle Times that the family has tried numerous times to get him help for mental illness but was told there was nothing anyone could do unless he posed a danger to himself or others.
Gossett said she had not talked to her son for about five years when a friend called saying he was on the news.
"There are all these people out there worried about the tree, but they're not worried about him, the human," she said. "He's obviously sick."
He didn't get any help even after he assaulted a police officer in Oregon, Gossett said.
"There's nothing we can do because he's an adult and doesn't think he needs help," she said. "It feels very hopeless."
The Seattle incident drew more than 70 police officers, negotiators, crisis response teams and four fire engine companies, a prosecutor wrote in court documents.
"This caused an incalculable waste of time and services and arguably (affected) the efficacy of local law-enforcement's reaction times to other serious calls for service around the city," Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Stephen Herschkowitz wrote.
Efforts to find an attorney for Miller were not immediately successful Tuesday. He is scheduled to be arraigned April 11.