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Man charged with second-degree murder in Federal Way shooting
James E. Mullins of Federal Way was charged with second-degree murder for the May 9 shooting of Lazaro Lopez.
The charges were increased on May 28 from first-degree assault after Lopez died on May 21 from complications from the gunshot wound to his chest.
According to charging papers, Mullins and Lopez were “common law brothers-in-law,” and the shooting occurred after a disagreement between them early on May 9 in the 31000 block of 10th Ave. S. in Federal Way.
The papers indicate that Lopez was returning a CD/DVD to Mullins about alternative cancer treatments, because Lopez’s son was diagnosed with cancer in recent years, and Mullins had used the method described on the disc to beat pancreatic cancer two years ago.
The incident escalated when “there was a discussion about Jesus and why does Lazaro hate him, Mullins so much. Mullins then stated to Lazaro something to the effect of ‘maybe now you will know what it’s like to lose a son,’” the documents continue.
According to Mullins’s recollection of events, that statement “made Lazaro very angry and he punched Mullins in the left cheek with a closed fist.” The two of them began to grapple with each other, eventually falling to the ground. During the altercation, Mullins produced a .38 caliber pistol and shot Lopez, according to the charging documents. Mullins had a number of weapons in his vehicles, home and scattered across his property, the documents continue.
According to the charging documents, this is not the first time Mullins has shot someone. His common law wife indicated that Mullins shot her in December of 2012, and he convinced her to lie to police by telling her he would allow her to go home to Oregon if she did so.
According to the wife’s interview with Federal Way police detectives, her and Mullins’s 26-year relationship “has been filled with violence, which includes Mullins hitting her and causing broken bones and lacerations.” Along with this, she alleged Mullins has “kept her an emotional prisoner in her home.”
The charging documents note the wife never sought to bring any of these issues to light with law enforcement.
Mullins’s bail was set at $1 million. If found guilty of second-degree murder, he could face a sentence up to life in prison.