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Suspect pleads not guilty in Federal Way Transit Center shooting

Merlin Bell, the suspect in the shooting death of De'Von Winston-Parks at the Federal Way Transit Center on Sept. 17, pleaded not guilty on Oct. 5. A case setting hearing has been scheduled for Nov. 2. Bell is charged with murder in the second degree. If convicted, he will face 17-25 years in prison.

The shooting followed an altercation between Bell and Winston-Parks, 19. Winston-Parks was shot in the head and transported to Harborview, where he died hours later.

Bell was arrested at the scene of the crime near a thick bush and a tree. He told police he was robbed at gunpoint by Winston-Parks the previous Sunday, according to charging papers. The incident took place at the Federal Way skate park, he said.

Bell reported he was fearful of Winston-Parks following the robbery and the younger man had uttered threatening words to Bell when he saw him at the transit center. According to charging papers, Bell told police he shot at Winston-Parks because he believed the man was reaching for a gun inside his backpack after telling Bell he was going to "pop you." Police were unable to confirm the robbery took place.

Another male, whom witnesses saw flee the transit center and whom police initially believed was a suspect, was later discovered to a be a witness. He claimed he was chasing the suspect.

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