Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Teen to plead guilty in adult court

By Jennifer Sullivan
Seattle Times staff reporter

A 16-year-old boy accused of fatally shooting a man during a burglary in White Center last fall has agreed to plead guilty in adult court to second-degree murder.

Jonathan Newman was 15 when he was charged with first-degree murder in King County Juvenile Court shortly after Craig Hoffman, 46, was killed when he interrupted a burglary in his home on Oct. 19.

During a hearing Monday in Juvenile Court, Deputy Prosecutor Amy Montgomery and defense attorney Christopher Carney signed off on an agreement that the case be handled in adult court with the stipulation that Newman would plead guilty to second-degree murder with a firearm. Juvenile Court Judge Leroy McCullough remanded Newman's case to adult court.

Montgomery said the Prosecutor's Office plans to seek a sentence of up to 23 years in prison. Newman is scheduled to enter his plea Wednesday morning at the Regional Justice Center in Kent.

Montgomery said Monday that prosecutors have a strong case against Newman. She said two other teens arrested in the burglary have pleaded guilty in juvenile court and promised to testify against Newman.

According to charging papers, the three teens saw Hoffman drive away from his home in the 11000 block of 14th Avenue Southwest on the morning of Oct. 19 and Newman entered through an open garage. He then let the other two boys in through the front door. When Hoffman returned a short time later, the boys raced out of the house with stolen items in hand, court documents said.

Montgomery said Newman shot Hoffman as the homeowner was chasing the teens off his property.

Montgomery also said in court that Newman committed nearly 20 burglaries in the months before Hoffman's death. She said he stored what he took in a mobile home on his parents' property, and that some items were sold and the rest were traded for drugs.

Newman's attorney declined to comment about the case after Monday's hearing.

Jennifer Sullivan: 206-464-8294 or jensullivan@seattletimes.com

No comments: