A 19-year-old South Seattle gang member was sentenced this afternoon to 18 years in prison for a shooting in May that wounded a man who later testified that someone else was the gunman.
A King County Superior Court in November found Hailu Mandefero guilty of three counts: first-degree assault for shooting JaeBrione Gary; second-degree assault for firing a bullet that narrowly missed hitting an employee at a Skyway fast-food restaurant; and being a felon in possession of a firearm.
In order to get Gary to testify, prosecutors had him arrested on a material-witness warrant and jailed for two weeks. Once he took the stand, Gary admitted he’d told a King County sheriff’s deputy at the scene that he had been shot by Mandefero. He also testified that he told his mother than Mandefero was the gunman when he awoke the next day at Harborview Medical Center.
However, during his testimony, Gary tried to pin the shooting on one of Mandefero’s friends.
In her closing arguments, Senior Deputy Prosecutor Julie Kline said that Gary lied on the stand about the gunman because he didn’t want to be seen as a “snitch.” According to police, the reluctance of some people to participate in the criminal-justice system stems from a gang culture that abhors “snitches” and sees street justice as the preferred way to settle beefs and exact revenge.