Suspect in killing of beloved Seattle community leader held without bail

A judge has found probable cause to keep Ashton Christopher Leffall without bail for first degree murder and more pending charges.

SEATTLE – The suspect in the murder of a Seattle community leader was ordered to be held without bail at his first trial on Friday on the pretext of possibly first-degree murder among many other charges. pending.

The judge sided with the King County Prosecutor that the suspect, identified as Ashton Christopher Leffall, was a danger to the community. The judge also found probable cause to incarcerate Leffall on two counts of first-degree assault, first-degree robbery and illegal possession of a weapon.

It was an emotional day in the courtroom, as the family gathered to demand justice for D’Vonne Pickett Jr.

Nicky Chappell, Pickett Jr.’s mother, said: “My baby is my everything. “My first child, my only son, he’s amazing, he’s – wonderful son, wonderful brother, wonderful father, wonderful husband, great uncle, a great hero in the world. neighborhood, a business owner. I’m so proud of my baby.”

His sister says they plan to continue Pickett Jr.’s legacy, which includes running Pickett Jr.’s business, The Postman.

“There’s no way you could walk through the Central District without knowing- D’Vonne Pickett Jr; he’s got a name,” said Da’Ajeray Morris, Pickett Jr.’s sister. “Everybody respects my brother. You can’t go anywhere and it’s not like- oh you’re Mr. Postman’s sister. I am!”

Morris and Chappell say along with making sure people will remember Pickett Jr for the good things he’s done – and continuing that service – they want to see swift justice in the case.

“He stole my baby,” Chappell said. “He took him away. I used to have that boy at my house. I fed him. He called me mom. He took him away from us. I’ll never see my baby again.”

The King County Prosecutor’s Office is expected to receive the documents needed to formally charge Leffall with those crimes by Monday, at which point it “will take immediate action,” a spokesman for the agency said. know.

Pickett Jr owns The Postman with his wife in Seattle’s Central District, and serves as a mentor and coach for young people. His friends and family consider Pickett Jr. as a pillar of the community. Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell and Governor Jay Inslee both released statements mourning his loss.

Chappell says, “Comfort comes from love – candlelight prayer. “There’s a lot of people out there. It’s overwhelming, but it’s also comforting.”

Pickett Jr. was shot dead on the 1100 block of Martin Luther King Jr. Way on Wednesday night. That night, multiple witnesses called 911 to report that shots had been fired and a suspect was seen fleeing the area.

When officers arrived at the scene, they found Pickett Jr lying on the sidewalk with multiple gunshot wounds, according to court documents. Officers assisted until Seattle Fire Department officers took Pickett Jr to Harborview Medical Center, where he died of his injuries.

Tributes were made to him as soon as the news spread, and a vigil was held attracting a mass of people.

Morris said: “There was never a dull moment with my brother, my brother was the center of the table. “He brought all the energy, positive energy, light to the show. Everything I know, everything I push for is for my brother.”

Officers spoke to several witnesses who saw the suspect flee north on MLK Jr. and describes him as about 5’11 with a heavy build, wearing a hooded sweater and dark shorts.

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Police also spoke to Pickett Jr.’s wife, Keanna R. Pickett, who said she and her husband drove to their shipping and mailing business on the 1100 block of MLK Jr. Way. After they stopped the car, D’Vonne Pickett Jr got out and headed for the front door when she heard multiple gunshots behind her, according to court documents.

Keanna Pickett said she saw a man matching the descriptions of other witnesses standing behind the bushes shooting at her husband. She then ran out of the car to help D’Vonne Picket Jr while calling 911, according to court documents.

When asked if she knew anyone who wanted to hurt her husband, Keanna Pickett said Leffall had repeatedly threatened her husband and members of his family, including her. She also mentioned a report that D’Vonne Pickett Jr. previously filed harassment claims from Leffall.

The previous report, filed September 9, said Leffall had harassed D’Vonne Pickett Jr and his family online and via text over the past two years, according to court documents. He had previously told officers Leffall, who lives in Hawaii, had come to his agency and was asking about him. An employee asked Leffall to leave, court documents said.

Officers learned that Leffall was also a suspect in several other shooting investigations from October 17 to October 18. Surveillance footage from the scene of the shooting and from other shootings, the SPD is currently using. The investigation found that “clothing, stature, body shape, personal appearance, and vehicle were consistent across investigations,” according to court documents.

Leffall was arrested around 12:51 p.m. on October 20 after police served a search warrant at a residence on the 10000th block of Rainier Avenue South. When arrested, Leffall appeared to be wearing the same clothes seen in surveillance video from the scene of the shooting and other incidents.

Leffall identified as suspect in robbery, assault investigation

Leffall was involved in several other shootings in the days leading up to the murder, according to court documents. Detectives investigating the cases advised Leffall not to be released, identifying Leffall as a suspect who “indiscriminately fired a handgun at people.”

Other crimes include a shooting on October 17 at around 11:57 a.m. When police arrived, they found the shop owner on the sidewalk outside the building with a gunshot wound to the chest. He was taken to Harborview Medical Center in a serious condition, according to court documents.

Surveillance footage shows a black man, wearing a blue hoodie, green or gray shirt, tight black shorts, and black shoes entering the store and perusing the merchandise. The man then left the store but returned five minutes later, wearing a mask and carrying a gun hidden in a shopping bag, according to court documents.

Upon reaching the counter, the suspect pointed a gun at the victim and asked for the debit card and PIN the victim provided. The suspect then shot the victim in the chest and fled the store on foot.

Security video from Walgreens across the street from the scene of the shooting captured the suspect entering a car, a 1996-1998 fawn or silver Acura TL with unique chrome wheels, before walked south on Rainier Avenue and disappeared from sight.

The victim’s wife told police that the victim’s debit card was declined at a Bank of America ATM at 4701 University Way NE. Security footage from the ATM shows a Black man matching the suspect’s description in the robbery trying to withdraw money.

Later that evening, a 911 call came from a man who said he heard a gunshot and suddenly started bleeding while driving south on Aurora Avenue near Raye Street in Seattle. Officers found the victim had a gunshot wound to the leg. According to court documents, a bullet was fired through the victim’s door from a passing vehicle.

The victim was driving a Tesla Model 3 with an external camera recording the incident. Video from Tesla’s hard drive shows the suspect’s vehicle, a 1996-1998 Accrual TL with chrome rims. The video, shot from the side of the Tesla driver, shows the occupant pointing a shotgun at the victim as he drives. According to court documents, the occupant appeared to be a black male based on the skin tone of his hands.

The next day, at about 4:33 p.m. on October 18, a third victim called 911 to report that someone had shot her through her window while she was driving. She has her three children, a 12-year-old, a 4-year-old and a 9-month-old, in the car. The only injuries she suffered were lacerations on her face from broken glass.

The victim said the suspect jumped out from behind her into the center lane and drove to her side before firing a bullet into her window. The victim said the suspect’s vehicle was an old brown sedan.

On October 19, a family member of the suspect called 911 and said they were concerned about Leffall’s mental health and worried he might hurt someone. Detectives searched Seattle police report files and found a report from September detailing a collision Leffall was involved in in which he got into an argument with the other party. Leffall drove a 1997 Acura TL tan.

Detectives reviewed body footage from the incident and found the vehicle had the same color and chrome wheels as the vehicle suspected in the robbery and one of the shootings. Leffall’s appearance also matched the suspect’s description and physical stature, according to court documents.

Leffall has three felony convictions in Washington for driving a motor vehicle without permission, possession of stolen property and malicious mischief. He is prohibited from owning a gun under Washington state law.

https://www.king5.com/article/news/crime/suspect-central-district-killing-dvonne-pickett-jr-held-without-bail-seattle/281-c48e216f-b7fb-4d96-835e-390121740aa9 Suspect in killing of beloved Seattle community leader held without bail

Edmund DeMarche

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