LAKEWOOD, Wash. — A man accused of shooting and killing a man two months ago in Lakewood over threats made to a woman he mentored as a father figure was arraigned Thursday in Pierce County Superior Court.
Charging documents say the homicide victim threatened to beat a woman who hadn’t returned his car. The next day, a shotgun blast tore through the front door of his apartment, killing him.
Murray Maurice Edwards, 48, has been charged with first-degree murder and first-degree unlawful possession of a firearm in the Oct. 21 killing of 45-year-old Warren Eugene Jackson Jr.
Edwards pleaded not guilty at arraignment. His bail was set at $1.5 million.
When Edwards was charged with Jackson’s death Dec. 3, police did not yet have him in custody. The defendant was arrested in southwestern Oregon Dec. 7 after the FBI told Oregon State Police he was traveling south on Interstate 5 near Wolf Creek in Josephine County.
Troopers took Edwards into custody when he crashed his car on the interstate while fleeing from police.
Lakewood Police detectives were able to start tracking Edwards Dec. 6 after a judge granted a phone trace order for the man’s phone, according to a Josephine County, Oregon affidavit for a search warrant.
Detectives saw that Edwards’ phone was moving south on Interstate 5 that day, and informed the FBI.
Edwards has prior felony convictions, according to the declaration for determination of probable cause. In 1993, he was convicted in federal court of unlawful delivery of a controlled substance. In 2003, he was convicted in Pierce County of first-degree unlawful possession of a firearm. He was also convicted of forgery in Pierce County in 2012.
Charging papers gave this account of events:
Lakewood Police Department officers responded to a shooting Oct. 21 about 11:45 p.m. at 4102 109th St. SW. At the scene, officers found Jackson with a gunshot wound in a bathroom at the back of an apartment.
Jackson died of blood loss in the bathroom, according to the Pierce County medical examiner.
A witness told police they saw a man who they thought had shot Jackson, and described him as a man wearing a red baseball cap, a black jacket and jeans who appeared to be in his late 30s to early 40s.
Police found shotgun shells and holes in the front door of the apartment. Prosecutors wrote in charging documents that evidence suggested someone fired a 12-gauge shotgun at the front door, striking Jackson near the front of the apartment.
That evening, detectives interviewed a man who rents the apartment where Jackson died, identified in the declaration for determination of probable cause as “C.” He told police he wasn’t there when Jackson was shot, but he allowed a number of people to come and go in his absence, including Jackson.
Detectives were later contacted by Jackson’s father, who described a dispute between Jackson and a woman who took his 2003 Mercury Marquis three days before the murder. Kent police found the car Oct. 23. The driver fled from police and crashed the car, then abandoned the vehicle and fled on foot. Inside, officers found a purse and documents belonging to the woman.
After speaking with C. again, detectives learned that the night before the fatal shooting, Jackson had a conversation with the mother of the woman alleged to have taken his car. According to the probable cause document, Jackson threatened to beat the woman’s daughter if his car wasn’t returned.
Jackson told the woman’s mother “go tell Mo that,” and she stormed out of the apartment, prosecutors wrote in charging documents.
Detectives identified Mo as the defendant, Edwards, and were told by C. that he was a father figure to the woman Jackson threatened. He told police Edwards wouldn’t have taken the threat lightly.
The night of the murder, the woman’s mother called C. to warn him Edwards was on his way to the apartment to confront Jackson, according to the probable cause document.
Through interviews with the woman and her daughter, police learned the mother told Edwards about the threats made to her daughter, which angered him, prosecutors wrote. The day of the murder, Edwards told the mother to call C. and tell him he was on his way to the apartment.
“Whoever threatened his daughter last night, he was going to ‘smoke them,’” the woman told detectives, according to the probable cause document.
Detectives confirmed through phone records the mother made calls to C. and Jackson A short time later, C. called her and said Jackson had been killed.
On Nov. 30, detectives received call records for Edwards’ phone from Oct. 15 to 23. A law enforcement phone expert analyzed phone data from around the time of the first 911 call Oct. 21, and was able to find two entries at 11:43 p.m. and 11:44 p.m. that showed Edwards’ phone location at or near the crime scene.
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