Emotions high when man in Bellevue bar slaying appears in court

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SEATTLE —

 

Emotions were raw among the friends and family of a man who was fatally shot in a Bellevue bar during the accused gunman’s court appearance.

 

Ja’Mari Jones, 19, made his first court appearance at the King County Courthouse Thursday.

 

The victim, DeShawn Milliken, was shot and killed Christmas Eve at the Munchbar nightclub in Bellevue.

 

Jones is charged with second-degree murder.

 

When Jones' attorney entered a plea of not guilty, Milliken’s family reacted with disbelief.

 

“What? What … he’s guilty,” was heard coming from the crowd.

 

The arraignment lasted five minutes, but the drama continued in the hallway as the victim’s family left the courthouse, where an argument broke out.

 

 Court security guards stepped in, but the tension between the victim's loved ones continued for another few minutes.

 

No one from the victim's family wanted to talk about the case.

 

Prosecutor Scott O'Toole said Jones could be sentenced from 20 to 28 years in prison if he's convicted.

 

O’Toole believes Jones' previous murder conviction for the beating death of Ed “Tuba Man” McMichael in 2008 will come up at Jones' trial.

 

KIRO 7 Eyewitness News reporter Jeff Dubois asked O'Toole if it was frustrating that Jones, who was a juvenile at the time, only served 6 months for McMichael's murder and is now charged with killing a second man.

 

"I don't know if frustration is the right word.  It's the way the system is designed and we sort of play by those rules,” said O’Toole.

 

Jones' bail is set at $5 million.

 

Prosecutors said they may add charges against Jones because two other people were hit by bullets in the Bellevue shooting.