News

Kent man, 23, charged in summer murder of Melanie Vincent

By MIKE HALLIDAY

The Mirror

A man has been charged in King County Superior Court for the murder of a woman who was found last August after Federal Way Police asked the public to help look for her.

Melanie G. Vincent was found in a ravine in Pierce County last August four days after Federal Way Police started looking for her.

Jason Porter, 23, of Kent was arrested in Alaska last November and charged with one count of second degree murder for Vincent’s death and first degree attempted murder for shooting a man who was with Vincent.

Bail was set at $1 million for Porter, according to the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office.

A trial date has not been set.

At about 12:44 a.m. on August 27, 2005, Federal Way Police were called to the Steel Lake Court Apartments on 31220 28th Avenue South by a tenant who dialed 9-1-1 to say he found a man in a stairwell who had been shot several times. The man was seriously wounded with several gunshots to his head, neck and abdomen. While he couldn’t speak the victim squeezed an officer’s hand to questions telling them he knew who shot him and that it was over money.

Investigators followed the man’s blood trail to a car and learned it was owned by a man who told police the mother of his child was driving the car - Vincent. Police ruled out the father as a suspect.

Blood was found inside the car and police began searching for Vincent. On Aug. 31, they asked the public for help in locating Vincent. That day her body was found in a ravine near Hyada Boulevard NE in Brownspoint.

As the male victim recovered he was able to tell investigators what lead to him being shot.

According to court papers, the man knew Porter from serving time in the Walla Walla state penitentiary. Vincent also knew Porter. The man dropped Vincent off at the Eastwind Motel along Pacific Highway South to meet Porter. Later the man was called back to the motel by Porter and when he entered the room, Porter pointed a .38 revolver at Vincent and shot her once in the chest. He made the man clean up the blood in the room. Investigators learned later an arson was reported in the room and the rental office and a section of carpet was cut out of the motel room.

Cmdr. Steve Neal of the Federal Way Police Department said the male victim’s account of what happened and the medical examiner’s report conflict. The Pierce County Medical Examiner’s Office determined Vincent died from multiple stab wounds and she wasn’t shot.

The man has remained firm in his recollection of events, Neal said.

Porter didn’t tell investigators what happened and requested an attorney.

The male victim told police that Porter made him drive the car Vincent had been using and that he called someone on his cell phone to say he made a mistake and needed help. Investigators believe Vincent’s body was put into the car.

Porter, according to court records, told the man to go to the Steel Lake Apartments where he shot the victim several times. He took several hundred dollars in cash and hundreds of dollars in marijuana from the victim.

People in the apartment complex told police they heard the shots and a few said shortly afterwards they saw a man running through the parking lot - who was later identified as the victim.

Staff writer Mike Halliday: 925-5565, mhalliday@fedwaymirror.com

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