A homeless man from Texas pleaded not guilty Thursday to first-degree murder in connection with the fatal shooting of a 22-year-old man on Sept. 24 in Pioneer Square, according to the King County Prosecutor’s Office
Kenneth Bernard Jones Jr., 19, was arrested six days after the killing by Federal Way police after he was identified by witnesses and tipsters, according to charging documents. Seattle police also found photos of Jones on his Facebook page that showed him wearing the same red, hooded sweatshirt the shooter was seen wearing in video-surveillance footage taken from nearby buildings, charging papers say.
He is being held in the King County Jail in lieu of $2 million bail.
Seattle police say the victim, Melvin Dees, was shot at 10:30 a.m. “without any apparent provocation,” according to the charging papers. Dees was shot at Second Avenue Extension South and Yesler Way and rushed to Harborview Medical Center, where he died during surgery.
Charging documents don’t indicate a motive for the shooting.
Video footage recovered by police shows a male in a red hooded sweatshirt quickly crossing Second Avenue Extension South midblock, pulling a handgun from his sweatshirt pocket and approaching the victim, charging papers say. The shooter and another man, wearing a black sweatshirt, both ran west after the shooting, the papers say.
One witness known to investigators was tracked down by detectives, and he told them he was standing next to Dees when the 22-year-old was shot, the papers say. That witness identified Jones as the shooter, according to the charges.
Jones told Seattle homicide detectives he spotted Dees in Fortson Square, decided to shoot him, then crossed the street and opened fire, charging papers say. Police also say Jones was shown the video surveillance footage and identified himself as the shooter wearing the red sweatshirt, according to the papers.
Jones’ next court hearing is scheduled for Nov. 20, the prosecutor’s office says.