Local

Victims’ families speak out as Echo Glen teen convicted of murder facing new charge as adult

Victims of a teenage, convicted murderer reacted to the news that he is now being charged as an adult for allegedly breaking out of Echo Glen.

Seventeen-year-old Drayton Miller was one of three juveniles authorities say escaped from the Echo Glen Detention Center over the weekend.

The other two are being charged in juvenile court. But Miller was convicted as a juvenile of two murders committed when he was just 14 years old.

KIRO 7 talked to relatives of both of his victims.

One of them lost her husband. The other lost her son. But both women said they always believed Miller should have been tried as an adult.

“I did,” said Maggie Perez-Zuniga. “I did. And it was only because he did adult decisions, adult actions.”

It has been more than two years since Perez-Zuniga’s 22-year-old son was shot and killed in a Safeway parking lot in Renton. Marc Anthony Valladolid was waiting for a friend when a then-14-year-old Drayton Miller shot and killed him.

“It was a senseless crime,” she said. “And it was point blank. The judge had said that it was executive style for both murders.”

Three months after Miller murdered her son, he shot and killed 54-year-old Anthony Pace as he was walking out of a convenience store in Renton.

He didn’t know either victim.

“Still going through it right now,” said Carsha Pressley-Pace. 

Pace’s widow said she, too, always believed Miller should have been tried in adult court.

“We settled with the plea they gave us because they said his mind wasn’t developed,” she said. “But clearly his mind is developed if he’s trying to escape.”

They will get their wish now.

After escaping from the Echo Glen Detention Center where he was serving his sentence, Miller will be tried for that crime as an adult. But the escape has troubled his victims’ relatives. They never got an official alert from the state Department of Children, Youth and Families.

“I did see that on the news,” she said. “But I didn’t know it was him.”

Maggie Perez-Zuniga said she didn’t know, at all, until KIRO 7 told her.

“Thank you for letting me know, although it wasn’t the way I wished I would have been let known,” she said. “But I do feel that something needs to be done with Echo Glen also.”

The state sent a reply late Wednesday afternoon. They said since the juveniles were caught by law enforcement so quickly, no notice would have been sent. But even then, they wouldn’t have been alerted unless they had signed up in advance to get an alert.

Here is a link to the State Department of Children, Youth, and Families’ Victim/Witness Notification Program.