• Guilty plea in Munchbar fatal shooting

    By: Amy Clancy


    A young man already convicted for beating a man to death when he was only 15 years old pleaded guilty to another killing on Wednesday.

    Ja’Mari Alexander Jones was just 19 when he gunned down Deshawn Milliken inside Bellevue’s Munchbar on Christmas Eve, 2012.

    The now-21-year-old Jones had a smile on his face during most of his short appearance in King County Superior Court when he pleaded guilty to second-degree murder.  

    When Judge Chuck Mertel asked, “Are you pleading guilty or not guilty?” Jones answered “Guilty.”

    Jones admitted to shooting Milliken.  He also injured two others. 

    Jones was also initially charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm, but that was apparently dropped as part of his deal with prosecutors.  In exchange for pleading guilty, Jones will most likely be sentenced to 18 years behind bars instead of the 28 years he was facing.

    Prior to accepting the plea, Judge Mertel said to Jones, “I look at you and I think, what in the hell are you doing with your life?  It’s not my job to preach, it’s my job to make sure you know what you’re doing with your guilty plea,” Mertel said.  
    “But I had that question as I sit here and look at you.”

    Jones did not respond.

    None of Jones’ or Milliken’s family and friends were in court Wednesday. 

    Even though he’s only 21, Jones is already very familiar with the criminal justice system and with living behind bars. He was only 15 when he and a friend beat Seattle’s beloved “Tuba Man,” Ed McMichael, to death during a  robbery. For that crime – committed as a juvenile --  Jones served six months.

    Jones will be sentenced for Milliken’s murder on Jan. 9. With time off for good behavior, he could again be out of prison when he’s as young as 33 years old.

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