A convicted felon sentenced to spend the rest of his life in prison under Washington state's three-strikes law has been charged with shooting and killing a man earlier this month.
The life sentence of Stonney Marcus Rivers, 50, was commuted by then-Gov. Christine Gregoire in 2013 during her final days in office.
Rivers was released from prison in early 2015.
On Nov. 2, police officers were called to the Golden Kent Motel on 84th Avenue South after gunfire rang out.
Nearby Mill Creek Middle School was locked down as a precaution.
Surveillance images show Rivers leaving the scene, according to Kent Police Chief Ken Thomas.
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"We believe it was Mr. Rivers that pulled the trigger," Thomas told KIRO 7. "We certainly know, if Mr. Rivers' sentence wasn't commuted, he wouldn't be out of custody and he would not have committed that crime."
David A. Cabrera was found dead in motel room No. 18, according to a police report. He had been "shot in the face" in front of his girlfriend during what police call a suspected drug deal.
Theneious Fisteral Swafford, 47, has been charged as an accomplice in the case. Investigators believe Swafford, also a convicted felon, drove Rivers to and from the crime scene.
Rivers' lengthy police record includes multiple convictions for robbery, assault and "a propensity for violence that creates a substantial likelihood of danger to the community," according to charging documents filed this week in King County Superior Court.
Rivers' criminal history was used as an example by policymakers drawing up the state's three-strikes law in the 1990s, according to Paul Guppy of the Washington Policy Center.
"He became one of the first cases in our state that was eligible for 'three strikes, you're out,'" Guppy told KIRO 7 on Tuesday. "He was sentenced to life, so the system worked, and for every day he stayed in jail, the public was safe."
"In this case, he was released and he committed another violent crime," Guppy said. "It's a stunning failure of a system that was put into place by the voters of our state to protect the public from exactly this kind of person."
KIRO 7 reached out to then-Gov. Gregoire for comment. This is the statement her former chief of staff, Marty Loesch, released:
Satterberg, whose office was contacted late Tuesday for comment, released this statement Wednesday:
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