Murder charge filed in Bellevue shooting
Suspect Ja'Mari Jones, who is still at large, is to face a charge of second-degree murder in a deadly altercation early Monday that was captured on video at a Bellevue bar.
Seattle Times staff reporter
The King County Prosecuting Attorney's Office on Friday charged Ja'Mari Jones with second-degree murder and requested that bail be set at $5 million in connection with a fatal shooting at a Bellevue bar early Monday.
Jones remains at large and is considered armed and dangerous.
Video from Bellevue Square shows Jones — who was convicted in 2009 in the beating death of Ed "Tuba Man" McMichael — entering Munchbar wearing a red down vest. He was accompanied by another man, Michael Cheatham. It was about 1 a.m., according to charging papers.
Footage shows Jones, 19, and the other man talking near DeShawn Milliken, 30, of Seattle, and his younger sister, Destiny Milliken, 21, according to the court papers. DeShawn Milliken seems to recognize Jones and then tackles him as his sister appears to fight with Cheatham. About eight seconds later, DeShawn Milliken turns away from Jones, but is then tackled at the waist by Cheatham.
The charging papers say that is when Jones brandished a gun, pointed it at DeShawn Milliken and fired at least five shots. DeShawn Milliken died at the scene, according to the King County Medical Examiner's Office.
Prosecutors say Jones could spend 20 to 28 years in prison if convicted of the murder charge, which comes with a firearm-weapon enhancement.
As people fled the bar in panic, Jones is also seen clearly in the video running out of the crowded lounge with a gun in his right hand, court papers state.
Cheatham, 21, later flagged down officers near the bar's parking garage. He was bleeding heavily from gunshot wounds to his left hand and right forearm, according to a Bellevue police officer's report in the charging papers.
Officer Jennifer Robertson reported that Cheatham at first denied coming to the bar with anyone or knowing who shot him. When officers interviewed him again after viewing the video, according to Robertson's report, Cheatham admitted to being the man in the video and identified Jones as the man in the red vest. He refused to answer any further questions.
Detectives later found out Destiny Milliken had also been injured in the shooting. She suffered gunpowder burns and was possibly grazed by a bullet.
It's still unclear if DeShawn Milliken had any connection to Jones before the shooting. Milliken was a Garfield High School homecoming king, student-body vice president, football star and honor student, but also had a criminal history and was part of Seattle's 2001 Mardi Gras riot.
In 2001, Milliken pleaded guilty to misdemeanor assault and rioting after the Mardi Gras brawl in Pioneer Square and was ordered to do 30 days of community service. In his guilty plea, he wrote that he was "not proud of his behavior" but "I believe the physical altercations with other people were the result of me defending myself or defending others who were attacked."
His childhood friend, Arron Murphy-Paine, said that Milliken helped his mother, who works at a Seattle public-defender office, raise his younger sister and was protective of his family.
"DeShawn was the protector and provider of his family, a father figure to his sister, and took care of his mom best way he could," Murphy-Paine said in an interview this week. "If you were his friend, he had your back."
Jones was one of three teens convicted of first-degree manslaughter in the 2008 death of McMichael. The 53-year-old Seattle street musician known as "Tuba Man" was beaten by the group of teens on Oct. 25, 2008, and later died.
Jones; Billy Chambers, a 19-year-old currently being held in federal custody on a firearms violation; and a third man, Kenneth Kelly, served time in Juvenile Rehabilitation Administration custody for McMichael's death.
According to the Department of Social and Health Services, Jones was at Chehalis' Green Hill School, the state's most secure juvenile rehabilitation facility, from April 2009 until March 2010.
After the teens' sentencings in 2009, King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg said the lack of eyewitnesses made charging them as juveniles "the only option we had to solve the crime."
Seattle Times archives were used in this report. Alexa Vaughn: 206-464-2515 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @AlexaVaughn.