Prosecutors: Federal Way man fatally shot, dismembered roommate

FEDERAL WAY, Wash. — King County prosecutors say a suburban Seattle man has been charged with premeditated first-degree murder, accused of fatally shooting and dismembering his roommate.

Charging papers say Nicholas Van Cleave of Federal Way was arrested this week after family members of Richard Lavietes, 41, contacted police, entered his apartment with a spare key and found two garbage bags filled with what appeared to be human remains, The Seattle Times reported.

Court records do not yet indicate which attorney is representing Van Cleave, who remains jailed in lieu of $2 million bail.

A co-worker called 911 Monday and requested a welfare check on Lavietes, according to the charging documents. She told a dispatcher she was concerned because Lavietes had taken a gun away from his roommate, whom she described as mentally unstable, the documents say.

Police say Lavietes and Van Cleave were friends and that Lavietes invited Van Cleave to live with him last year because Van Cleave had trouble keeping a job, according to the charges.

A relative told detectives that Lavietes told Van Cleave he needed to move out after Van Cleave brought the gun home last week, according to charging documents.

The King County Medical Examiner’s Office determined Lavietes was shot five times in the back of the head, according to the charges, which say Lavietes was then dismembered.