News

Shooting suspect's escape attempt fails

By ERICA JAHN

Staff writer

A Tacoma man accused of shooting a man in the chest and dumping his body by the side of a road in Northeast Tacoma slipped his hand from handcuffs at the Federal Way police station, picked the lock on his leg iron and climbed through a ceiling panel in a failed attempt to escape.

Police subdued Kevin William Light-Roth, 19, and he remains in custody at the Regional Justice Center in Kent on $750,000 bail.

On Thursdsay, King County Prosecting Attorney Norm Maleng filed second-degree murder charges against Light-Roth and first-degree charges of rendering criminal assistance against Christopher Eugene Highly, 19, in connection with the death of Tython Bonnett, 19.

Both suspects are scheduled to be arraigned Feb. 20.

Highly and another man went to Federal Way Police Feb. 6 to provide information about the murder.

The men said they and Light-Roth were at the Stonehaven Apartment complex, in the 1900 block of Southwest Campus Drive in Federal Way, on Feb. 5, waiting for Bonnett because the third man wanted to confront him about a sexual encounter Bonnett allegedly had with his sister.

The Mirror isn’t naming the third man because he hasn’t been charged with a crime.

Light-Roth allegedly gave the man a .45-caliber pistol loaded with hollow-point bullets, which the man said he tucked into his waistband as he went to confront Bonnett, according to charging papers.

A brief argument ensued and Light-Roth grabbed the pistol and put it into his own waistband, authorities said. Highly told police Bonnett seemed sorry, but as they were sitting down to talk, Light-Roth allegedly grabbed the pistol and shot Bonnett point-blank in the chest. The third man told police he left the apartment.

Highly said he grabbed garbage bags and lined the back of Light-Roth’s car while Bonnett was dying on the floor, according to charging papers. Highly stayed in the apartment with Bonnett’s body when Light-Roth left for awhile.

After Light-Roth returned, Highly said, they covered Bonnett’s head with Highly’s jacket to conceal him while they socialized in the living room with two women Light-Roth brought back with him. One of the women noticed something was wrong with Bonnett, and when they went out on the porch to smoke, Light-Roth picked up Bonnett’s body and carried him out the door, according to charging papers.

Highly told police he got rid of Bonnett’s girlfriend’s car and Bonnett’s personal property while Light-Roth disposed of Bonnett’s body in the 2500 block of 57th Avenue Northeast in Tacoma.

Police searched for Light-Roth until Feb. 9, when a confidential witness said he had taken Light-Roth to a Fife motel. Police arrested him there after a brief foot pursuit.

At the police station, Light-Roth told police he could provide the gun, a Palm pilot with fingerprints and the stereo faceplate from Bonnett’s girlfriend’s car if he could get total immunity, according to charging papers. A police detective said he told Light-Roth he couldn’t promise him anything and left the room.

A few minutes later, Light-Roth slipped his hand out of the handcuff on the table in an interview room and picked the lock on his leg iron, police said.

As officers ran into the room, he grabbed something from the table, which police thought might be a pen, and held it behind his back before moving toward them in a threatening way, according to charging papers. The officers retreated and closed him in the interview room.

Light-Roth tried to pull the door open until police sprayed gas into the room to subdue him. When they opened the door, he pulled himself up the door, climbed through a ceiling panel and ran through the ceiling to above an adjacent room, where he fell through onto the floor, authorities said.

Police tackled him but he struggled, knocking over furniture, according to charging papers. He agreed to stop struggling after one of the detectives hit him on the head twice, authorities said. Police then handcuffed him and put him in a holding cell.

Light-Roth was limping and complained of ankle pain, but police didn’t call for medical aid because of his attempts at escape and violent resistance, according to charging papers.

Staff writer Erica Jahn: 925-5565, ejahn@fedwaymirror.com

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