W. Seattle Suspect A `Mad Dog' -- Murder Charges Expected Monday
On the night of last Aug. 16, King County prosecutors allege, a 16-year-old member of a Samoan youth gang known as the "Mad Pack" walked down some steps at a West Seattle park, took out a pistol and shot two people, killing one of them.
The youth appeared yesterday in Juvenile Court, where a judge determined there was adequate reason to believe the crime had been committed.
A prosecutor said formal murder charges will be filed against the youth Monday. The youth said nothing during yesterday's court appearance.
Afterward, his uncle, who works as a Seattle School District security specialist and who appeared in court with his nephew, said he thinks there is no evidence against his nephew.
"As far as I'm concerned, he has nothing to do with it," the uncle said, adding that, to his knowledge, his nephew doesn't own a gun.
"I've always felt the system was a failure," the uncle said, describing the treatment his nephew has received in numerous encounters with the court system.
Deputy Prosecuting Attorney David Wall had a different viewpoint.
"He's the one who pulled the trigger," contended Wall.
Killed in the attack was Sheryl Hernandez, 27, who was sitting on a park bench talking to Ernest Chris Roybal, 28, when a male approached them, asked the time, and then pulled a pistol and shot both of them.
Hernandez was pronounced dead at the scene. The bullet went into Roybal's head just above his left eyebrow and he lost the eye.
Wall said police initially had few leads, but then received an anonymous 911 call that led them to the suspect.
"The assailant was bragging" about the attack to witnesses, said Wall.
The apparent motive for the killing was robbery, Wall said, although he said he couldn't explain why the robbery was not completed after the shootings. The weapon used in the assault has not been recovered.
The suspect has a record of more than seven juvenile offenses, including an assault charge involving a drive-by shooting in July 1992.
The suspect's attorney, Anita Moceri, claims the evidence against her client is "generic" and "uninformative."
Two other suspects in the killing, both 18, are being held in the King County jail in lieu of $500,000 bail each for investigation of homicide. One of those suspects also has a lengthy criminal record.
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