2 teens charged in death of 54-year-old man

by: Kevin McCarty Updated:

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TACOMA, Wash. - Two teenagers now face charges of robbery and murder in connection with the Aug. 31 death of 54-year-old Lawrence Howse outside his Tacoma condominium.

Andrew Boyd, 18, and Jeremy Bennett, 17, pleaded not guilty during their arraignment in the Pierce County Superior Courtroom on Friday. Boyd's bail was set at $3 million and Bennett's at $2 million.

The two are accused of following Howse as he pulled into a secure parking lot at Sky Terrace condominiums, in Tacoma's Stadium district, where he was robbed and shot to death. The two remained the subject of a police manhunt until their arrest on Thursday.

Howse's brother, David Howse, said seeing the two suspects in court was difficult.

"It's disheartening how young they were and how cold they could be," said David Howse.

Asked what he thought would be justice for the two, Howse replied, "Well, I don't think you want to hear what justice would be in my mind."

Two others were accused of helping Boyd and Bennett destroy evidence after Howse's murder and were charged with rendering criminal assistance. Titeana Bankston and Jheri Flood both entered pleas of not guilty to the charges.

Bennett's brother, Jaron Bennett, was charged along with Boyd for a second, unrelated robbery at a drug store where the two are accused of pulling a gun and stealing liquor.

In a probable cause affidavit, Boyd and Bennett accuse each other of Howse's murder. But Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Phil Sorensen said legally, that makes no difference. Since each is accused of taking part in a robbery that ended in murder, both face a murder allegation.

"Whoever's in for the robbery is going to get charged and hopefully convicted of the murder, as well." Sorensen said.