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14-year-old guilty of murder

A Federal Way teenager pleaded guilty yesterday to first-degree murder in connection with a robbery attempt that left Lamar Armstrong, 38, dead in the bedroom of his Federal Way apartment.

The teenager, who was 14 at the time of the murder, could be sentenced to juvenile detention until his 21st birthday. A sentencing hearing is scheduled for April 18.

The teen was arrested along with two others, Coy Graham, 17, and Andrew Harris, 18, on suspicion of murdering Armstrong on Aug. 18, 2001.

Witnesses told police the three set off Armstrong’s car alarm to lure him out of his apartment early that evening. When Armstrong opened the door, the three rushed inside, according to authorities.

After the three were arrested, Graham and Harris told police they wanted to rob Armstrong of money and pot, authorities said.

They told police the 14-year-old brought a handgun and gloves to Armstrong’s apartment. They said it was the 14-year-old who shot Armstrong once in the head after Armstrong refused to cooperate with the robbery attempt, charging papers said. The three teens then fled the apartment.

King County prosecutors sought adult charges against the 14-year-old, but the Juvenile Court judge ruled he would not be charged as an adult based on his lack of criminal history, his conduct after the crime and his prospects for rehabilitation.

The court decided Graham and Harris will be charged as adults in King County Superior Court with one count each of first-degree murder. A trial date has been set for May 1.

Staff writer Erica Jahn can be reached at 925-5565 and ejahn@fedwaymirror.com.

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