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Originally published March 5, 2013 at 4:06 PM | Page modified March 5, 2013 at 9:19 PM

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Plea deal to send ‘Tuba Man’ killer to prison for 6 years

Billy Chambers, who as a teenager was involved in the beating death of Ed “Tuba Man” McMichael, has agreed to a plea deal in an unrelated firearms case that will put him in federal prison for six years.

Seattle Times staff reporter

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Billy Chambers, who as a teenager was involved in the beating death of Ed “Tuba Man” McMichael, has agreed to a plea deal in an unrelated firearms case that will put him in federal prison for six years.

Chambers, 20, was arrested on Oct. 3 by King County sheriff’s deputies who stopped a car he was driving in Burien after someone reported the vehicle had been involved in a car prowl, according to charging documents. In the trunk, deputies found a Bushmaster AR-15 assault-style rifle that was reported stolen in a residential burglary in 2010.

Chambers later told police that he had agreed to drive two friends to a “house where they ‘sell guns’ ” so his friends could steal firearms, according to the documents.

Under federal firearms law, Chambers — as a felon — is not allowed to be in the vicinity of weapons. Merely being in the car put him in what the law calls “constructive possession” of the weapon.

Chambers was just 15 when he and two friends attacked McMichael, robbing and beating him so badly that his injuries eventually claimed his life. McMichael, 53, was a fixture outside Seattle sporting events, where he often played a tuba.

Chambers, who was convicted of manslaughter in juvenile court, spent nearly 18 months at Maple Lane School in Centralia for McMichael’s death and another robbery on the same night. Since then, he has been arrested at least five times and convicted of crimes on two separate occasions.

Chambers was released from the Monroe Correctional Complex on Sept. 18 after serving a portion of his sentence for attempted second-degree-assault. Chambers pleaded guilty to the charge in October 2011, admitting that he deliberately rammed a woman’s car in June 2011 after she reported him to police for an earlier car prowl.

In July 2010, Chambers, then 17, and two other teens were arrested and charged with robbing a man at gunpoint in downtown Seattle. Chambers later pleaded guilty to first-degree theft and was sentenced to eight months in juvenile detention.

In pleading guilty to a federal count of being a felon in possession of a firearm, Chambers will face incarceration in an out-of-state federal prison and will be subject to three years of supervised release when he gets out.

While the plea agreement states both the defense and U.S. Attorney’s Office will recommend a six-year sentence, they acknowledge that U.S. District Judge Robert Lasnik is not bound by it. The charge carries a maximum penalty of 10 years.

Sentencing is set for May 31 before Lasnik.

Another teen convicted of manslaughter in McMichael’s death, Ja’Mari Alexander-Alan Jones, has been charged with second-degree murder in connection with a fatal Christmas Eve shooting at Munchbar, a restaurant/bar in Bellevue Square. Jones has pleaded not guilty.

Mike Carter: mcarter@seattletimes.com

or 206-464-3706

Information from Seattle Times archives is included in this report.

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