The King County Prosecutor today charged 17-year-old Byron Keith Alonzo White with first degree murder with a firearm enhancement in the death of David Peterson in Greenwood on Feb. 23. White was charged as an adult “under a state law that provides for automatic adult prosecution for 16 and 17-year-old juveniles who commit serious violent offenses,” according to the prosecutor’s office.
According to charging documents, White allegedly approached Peterson and tried to steal his cellphone. After a brief struggle, Peterson was able to keep control of the cellphone and the defendant walked away. When Peterson called 911 to report the robbery attempt, the defendant walked back to Peterson and confronted him. He then allegedly shot Peterson in the chest, took the victim’s cellphone and left. The defendant was arrested last weekend at SeaTac airport before he could board a flight to Atlanta.
Prosecutors also charged the defendant with Unlawful Possession of a Firearm in the Second Degree, based on his age, and Attempted Robbery in the Second Degree. If convicted as charged, the sentence range, which includes the firearm enhancement, is 27 to 35 years in prison.
The defendant remains in custody with bail set at $2 million. He will be arraigned on March 17 at 9 a.m. in courtroom GA at the Maleng Regional Justice Center.
Members of Sanctuary Church in Greenwood have organized a memory walk in Peterson’s honor starting at 8 p.m. this Sunday. The walk begins at the Green Bean Coffeehouse, 8525 Greenwood Ave. N. Bring a flashlight or candle. When the walk gets to the murder scene at North 85th Street and 1st Avenue NW there will be a moment of silence. The walk will end back at the Green Bean around 9 p.m. They’ve also set up a Facebook page for the event.
Peterson’s family has set up an account at Verity Credit Union to help his wife, Kimberly Peterson, cover funeral and other expenses. Donations can be made by check or cash at any Verity Credit Union or at any other credit union in the Shared Banking Credit Union Network. The account is in Kimberly Peterson’s name, savings account 6643880.
Update: I’ve been reviewing the charging documents for more information.
According to police, White tried to rob Peterson of his cell phone, but couldn’t get it away from him. Peterson then called 911 to report the attempted robbery, and White overheard him and came back, shooting him once in the chest at point-blank range with a 9mm semi-automatic pistol and took the cell phone. White later allegedly told friends at a house five blocks from the scene that he’d shot Peterson, showed them his cell phone, and complained that it wasn’t as nice as he had hoped.
Police searched that residence but did not find the gun or phone.
White was arrested at Sea-Tac Airport last Saturday just before boarding a plane for Atlanta. According to the charging documents, White admitted to homicide detectives that he’d shot Peterson and took his phone.