A King County Superior Court judge sentenced Jorge Lizarraga to 38 years in prison this afternoon for the shooting death of Devin Topps, a popular 18-year-old Kentridge High School football star, outside a house party in Kent on Halloween 2010.
Lizarraga, now 23, was found guilty of second-degree murder in December for Topps’ death, a charge that also carried a firearms enhancement.
Topps was killed with a .40-caliber handgun stolen four days earlier from the residence of a veteran State Patrol trooper. Lizarraga, a felon who was barred from possessing firearms before Topps was killed, was also found guilty of residential burglary, theft of a firearm and first-degree unlawful possession of a firearm in connection with the burglary at the trooper’s house, court records show.
The same jury also found him guilty of possession of a stolen firearm and first-degree unlawful possession of a firearm in connection with a 9-mm handgun stolen in a different burglary, according to the records.
In August 2012, Lizarraga was sentenced to seven years in prison after pleading guilty to a slew of criminal charges, including theft of a motor vehicle and residential burglary. His 38-year sentence for murder is to run consecutively with the seven-year sentence.
A month before Topps was killed, a King County Superior Court judge issued a warrant for Lizarraga’s arrest after he failed to show up in court on charges related to his May arrest in Federal Way for investigation of car theft and possessing methamphetamines and marijuana, according to court records.
Just after 2 a.m. on Oct. 31, 2010, Kent police were called to a shooting in the 20200 block of 92nd Avenue South, where they found Topps lying on the ground and bleeding profusely from a gunshot wound, according to court records. Medics tried to revive Topps, but he was pronounced dead at the scene. Several .40-caliber shell casings were found nearby.
The King County Medical Examiner’s Office later determined Topps had been shot once in the back from close range, the records say.
Kent police investigators determined that Topps was at a Halloween party when a number of uninvited people arrived at the house. When the party crashers were told they should leave, a fight broke out. Topps took on one of them, and apparently won the fight. That’s when one of the party crashers – Lizarraga – pulled a gun and shot Topps in the back as he walked away.
Two witnesses who were at the party identified Lizarraga as the shooter, the records say.
Topps was a varsity starter at linebacker and running back in his sophomore and junior years at Kentridge. He was a top college recruit with the potential to be a Pac-10 conference football player, but suffered a knee injury in 2009.
Topps also played basketball at Kentridge.