A King County Superior Court jury began deliberations Wednesday afternoon in the first-degree murder trial of Tomas Afeworki, a now 29-year-old man accused of fatally shooting Michael Yohannes at a downtown Seattle intersection on Oct. 26, 2010.
Afeworki, who represented himself, reiterated his claim in closing arguments on Wednesday that Seattle police misidentified him as the shooter and planted evidence that was used against him.
But King County Senior Deputy Prosecutor Don Raz told jurors there is overwhelming evidence of Afeworki’s guilt – from witnesses, video surveillance footage, a partial DNA profile and the discovery of the murder weapon in a restaurant restroom where Afeworki hid out moments before his arrest – and to “believe otherwise would require belief in a fantasy of epic proportions.”
According to police, Yohannes and a friend were at Pike Place Market, then bumped into Afeworki near Westlake Center and spoke with him briefly before continuing north.
Yohannes and his friend stood on the northwest corner of Second Avenue and Pike Street, waiting with other pedestrians for the light to change, when Afeworki approached him from behind, pulled a gun draped in a white towel from his pocket, and shot Yohannes in the head, police said.
Police allege Afeworki walked to a restaurant and went inside a restroom, where officers later found three live rounds in the toilet bowl and a 9mm handgun hidden beneath the liner of a trash can.
Police officers converged outside the restaurant and arrested Afeworki.