Renton man pleads not guilty in Christmas Eve club slaying
The 19-year-old Renton man charged with a fatal Christmas Eve shooting inside a Bellevue nightclub pleaded not guilty Thursday to second-degree murder.
Seattle Times staff reporter
The 19-year-old man charged with a fatal Christmas Eve shooting in a Bellevue nightclub pleaded not guilty Thursday morning to second-degree murder.
Before entering his plea, Ja'Mari Alexander-Alan Jones turned and looked toward the packed Seattle courtroom, filled with family and friends of victim DeShawn Milliken, who was killed in the Mirror Lounge at Munchbar, a restaurant/bar in Bellevue Square.
Members of Milliken's family glowered at Jones, and some complained loudly when he pleaded not guilty. Milliken's relatives, including his sister, Destiny, who was present during the shooting, declined to comment to the media.
After the hearing, Milliken's supporters got into a yelling match in the hallway, requiring courthouse security to intervene.
Senior Deputy Prosecutor Scott O'Toole said after the hearing that Milliken was close to his family and that the case is "pretty intense."
If convicted, Jones could face up to 28 years in prison, according to King County prosecutors.
Milliken, 30, of Renton, was fatally shot just after 1 a.m. during an altercation in the Mirror Lounge, which was crowded with hundreds of people celebrating the Seahawks' win against the San Francisco 49ers the day before.
Security video footage from the bar shows Jones talking with a man near Milliken and his sister, according to the court papers. Milliken seemed to recognize Jones and tackled him. Destiny Milliken appeared to fight with the other man, Michael Cheatham, who had entered the bar with Jones.
About 8 seconds later, DeShawn Milliken turned away from Jones, but was then tackled by Cheatham.
Jones then pulled out a handgun, pointed it at DeShawn Milliken and fired at least five shots, according to charging papers.
Jones was one of three youths who pleaded guilty in April 2009 to manslaughter in the death of 53-year-old Ed "Tuba Man" McMichael. The street musician was beaten during an October 2008 robbery near Seattle Center and later died of his injuries.
Jones, Billy Chambers and Kenneth Kelly served time in Juvenile Rehabilitation Administration detention for McMichael's death. Because no witnesses came forward after McMichael's death, King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg said, his office was forced to charge the three teens as juveniles instead of seeking to have them charged as adults, which would have meant longer sentences.
Chambers, 19, is now in federal custody on a separate firearms violation.
Milliken was a former Garfield High School homecoming king, student-body vice president, football star and honor student.
His slaying prompted Kemper Freeman Jr., developer of Bellevue Square, to close down Munchbar.
Information from Seattle Times archives is included in this report.
Jennifer Sullivan: 206-464-8294 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @SeattleSullivan.