Topic: rendering criminal assistance
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October 8, 2013 at 12:21 PM
TACOMA — A soldier has been charged with first-degree murder in connection with the fatal stabbing of a fellow soldier in Lakewood early Saturday morning.
Jeremiah DeShaun Hill, 23, is charged with first-degree murder in the slaying of Spc. Tevin Geike, 20, of Summerville, S.C.
Two other soldiers, Ajoni Runnion-Bareford, 21, and Cedarium L. Johnson, 21, were charged with first-degree rendering criminal assistance, according to the Pierce County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office. The defendants and Geike are all based at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.
During an emotional court hearing this afternoon, Hill pleaded not guilty to the murder charge. Pierce County Superior Court Commissioner Meagan Foley set his bail at $2 million. Runnion-Bareford also pleaded not guilty and Foley set his bail at $250,000.
Johnson pleaded not guilty, and Foley allowed him to go free on personal recognizance. He is restricted to Joint Base Lewis-McChord.
According to the affidavit of probable cause outlining the police case, Geike and two others were walking in the 12500 block of Pacific Avenue Southwest around 2:30 a.m. when someone from a passing vehicle yelled “hateful remarks” at them, according to witnesses. One witness could not recall what the remark was, the affidavit says.
But a news release this afternoon from the Pierce County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office characterized the comment as an “unspecified racial slur.”
One of the members of Geike’s group yelled back something about being combat veterans, the affidavit says.
At that point, the car pulled over and four men got out and approached Geike and his friends, the affidavit says.
“When the participants learned that both the walkers and the men in the car were soldiers, some of the men in the sedan backed away and it appeared the incident was over,” the affidavit says.
One of the men in the car, later identified as Hill, then grabbed Geike and threw him on the ground, according to the affidavit. Hill and the other men then got back in the car and drove off.
“At that point the victim’s friend realized that Mr. Geike had been stabbed,” the affidavit says.
Geike died at the scene. An autopsy showed he had suffered a superficial stab wound to the right side and a second wound to the chest that penetrated his heart, according to the affidavit.
Johnson is charged for his role in the escape as well as the disposal of the knife, which was discarded in Tillicum, the affidavit alleges. Runnion-Bareford is also accused of helping dispose of the knife as well as attempting to clean and hide the car, the affidavit says.
Police later found the knife they believe was used in the slaying.
On Monday, Army Spc. Brian Johnson, who was with Geike during the attack, turned aside questions on whether the attack may have been racially motivated, a possibility raised in police accounts over the weekend. According to those initial reports, the suspects, all African American, may have made a comment about Geike and his companions being white.
But Lakewood Police Lt. Chris Lawler said, “It appears from interviewing everyone involved that race was not a motivating factor in this homicide.” Lawler said the two men who were with Hill told police they were surprised their companion attacked Geike, and they did not know why he did it, police said.
Pierce County Prosecuting Attorney Mark Lindquist agreed.
“Both friends of the victim and friends of the suspect agree that race was not the issue here,” Lindquist told The News Tribune. “Detectives reported to me that there may have been some trash talk, but that race was a non-issue.”
February 15, 2013 at 11:06 AM
COUPEVILLE — Former beauty queen Peggy Sue Thomas was sentenced this morning to four years in prison for luring a man to death nearly a decade ago.
Thomas, winner of the 2000 Ms. Washington pageant, pleaded guilty last month to first-degree rendering criminal assistance after striking a plea deal with Island County prosecutors who were preparing to try Thomas for first-degree murder. Had she been convicted of murder, Thomas, 47, could have received what would have amounted to a life sentence.
In exchange for her guilty plea, prosecutors agreed to recommend a four-year sentence.
Thomas was accused of plotting with her then-boyfriend, James Huden, to kill Russel Douglas, who was found shot to death in a car in Freeland, Whidbey Island, two days after Christmas 2003. Thomas, a former beautician, had once worked at a salon owned by Douglas’ wife.
Huden was arrested in Mexico in June 2011 and Thomas was arrested a month later in Farmington, N.M., on her houseboat.
Huden was convicted of first-degree murder in Island County Superior Court last summer and sentenced to 80 years in prison. But he refused to testify against Thomas, even declining an offer from the prosecution that would have lessened his sentence, according to the Whidbey News-Times.
Huden never did disclose a motive for the slaying.
During this morning’s sentencing hearing, Jim Douglas, the slain man’s father, spoke via Skype from Virginia in support of a longer sentence for Thomas.
“You’re not a victim, you’re a predator,” Jim Douglas said to Thomas.
Island County Superior Court Judge Alan R. Hancock said that despite the sentence, Douglas’ family still does not know exactly why he was killed because Thomas never opened up.
“I call on her to give a full account of what she knows,” he said. “Without this information there will always be a cloud over this. If Ms. Thomas does not tell everything she knows it is only fair she be tormented the rest of her life by what she knows.”
Craig Platt, Thomas’ lawyer, said that she feels terrible about what happened to Douglas.
Thomas declined to address the court.
Thomas’ case has drawn national media coverage. NBC’s “Dateline” and “America’s Most Wanted” have followed what some scribes breathlessly dubbed the “Drop Dead Gorgeous Case.” True-crime author Ann Rule, who was in court this morning, reportedly plans a book on the homicide.
Thomas went to beauty school, had stints repairing cars and naval aircraft, and was once wed to the millionaire owner of Mine That Bird, a thoroughbred that won the 2009 Kentucky Derby.
In October 2011, shortly after her arrest, Thomas made headlines when an Island County judge allowed her to take a two-week, five-state road trip so she could tend to personal business.
Thomas, who was free on $500,000 bail, sought permission to attend a memorial for her recently deceased half-sister in Idaho, and to travel to New Mexico, Utah and Nevada to prepare to sell a house, go to her dentist, and collect her winter clothes, among other things.
July 6, 2012 at 10:30 AM
A 30-year-old Tacoma man was sentenced this morning to one year in jail for his role in last July’s gang-related shootout at a Kent car show that left a dozen people wounded.
Patrick A. Auble, one of seven people charged in connection with the shootout, was convicted in May of first-degree rendering criminal assistance. His brother, Shea Auble, pleaded guilty to rendering criminal assistance but has not been sentenced. Five other defendants are awaiting trial.
Gunfire erupted July 23 during an unauthorized lowrider car show at the La Plaza strip mall that drew 200 to 300 people. The wounded ranged in age from 14 to 32, according to police.
Later that night, a 13th person was wounded in what Kent police said was a retaliatory shooting at an East Hill apartment complex.
Some of the seven suspects were linked to the shooting through a distinctive Chevrolet Monte Carlo spotted at the car show as well as by information from a confidential informant, police said.
Patrick Auble was not at the shootout, police said in charging documents. However, he was a friend of the shooting suspects and was present at a party where one of the defendants hid a car and a gun after the shooting, police said.
Further, court documents say, Auble called police after his brother was arrested on an unrelated charge and said he would lead police to evidence related to the shootout if his brother was released from jail.
The shooting, along with other incidents, prompted King County Executive Dow Constantine to tap $1.4 million from a law-enforcement emergency fund to combat gang violence in South King County.
February 28, 2012 at 4:37 PM
Kitsap County prosecutors today charged a 43-year-old man for allegedly helping Joshua Jearl Blake, 28, in the hours after he killed State Patrol Trooper Tony Radulescu last week.
Steven M. Banks is the sixth person to be charged with rendering criminal assistance in the wake of the trooper’s death early Thursday morning. All six are being held in Kitsap County Jail in lieu of $500,000 bail.
According to the certification of probable cause, Banks lived at the residence on Scofield Road where Blake and his ex-girlfriend, Jessi L. Foster, hid as they attempted to find a ride for Blake from the area.
Banks told investigators that he had not invited Blake or Foster to his home and that he suspected Blake was wanted by police, court documents say. However, prosecutors say he placed over 30 calls during the approximately four hours Blake was there. Banks allegedly told investigators he just “wanted them gone,” according to the documents.
Blake shot himself in the head as SWAT teams surrounded the home. He died at a Tacoma hospital several hours later.
Radulesco was fatally shot after he pulled Blake over on Highway 16 near Gorst shortly before 1 a.m. on Thursday, according to the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office. Investigators say Blake told his 18-year-old passenger, Megan Mollet, to roll down the window and turn her head before he shot Radulescu.
A procession and memorial service for Radulesco will be held Thursday. For details about the procession route, click here.
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The Today File is a general news blog featuring real-time coverage of Seattle and the Northwest. It is reported by the news staff of The Seattle Times and edited by Assistant Metro Editor Nick Provenza.
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