Federal Way suspect and girlfriend charged with attempted murder, kidnapping

File photo

File photo

A Federal Way man known as “Flatline” has been charged with attempted murder and kidnapping after allegedly shooting a man on Jan. 25 — paralyzing the man from the chest down — for identifying his girlfriend as the shooter in a previous incident.

Benjamin Veniale, 24, was arrested at a Bellevue apartment on Feb. 25 by Bellevue and Federal Way police. He is being held in lieu of $1 million bail.

His girlfriend, 27-year-old Machela Sheckles, has also been charged with attempted murder and first-degree assault.

On Dec. 12, 2020, a victim was shot in unincorporated King County and the incident was investigated by Federal Way police. A witness from the incident was found, later providing a statement to police and identifying the shooter in a photo montage.

The alleged shooter was identified as Sheckles, and police determined she allegedly shot a woman who she believed was having a sexual relationship with her boyfriend, 24-year-old Veniale.

She was charged with first-degree assault on Jan. 11 and a warrant was put out for her arrest. Sheckles failed to appear at her Jan. 25 arraignment.

Later that same day, Veniale and another man allegedly kidnapped the witness who identified Sheckles, drove him to a secluded dirt road and shot at him several times in retaliation for identifying Sheckels to police, according to charging documents.

The witness suffered at least five gunshot wounds to the abdomen, one of which penetrated his spinal column and paralyzed him from the chest down as a result of the Jan. 25 shooting.

Veniale is a convicted felon, having been released from prison in Oct. 2020 after robbing a stranger at gunpoint with a pistol with an extended magazine.

Veniale’s arraignment is scheduled for 9 a.m. March 15 at the Maleng Regional Justice Center. Sheckles’ case setting hearing was on March 10.

According to the court documents:

On Dec. 20, 2020, Sheckles, also known as “Rain,” located a woman she believed to be sexually involved with her boyfriend. Sheckles allegedly blocked the woman’s car with her own, walked up to the victim’s car and shot the woman “at almost point-blank range.” The woman “nearly died with a through-and-through gunshot wound to the chest exiting through her back near the spine.”

The witness later identified Sheckles as the shooter to police.

On Jan. 25, Pierce County Sheriff’s Deputies found the witness of the previous incident in a secluded open field with multiple gunshot wounds.

Days later, the witness told police he had been at a house in Federal Way celebrating Rain’s (Sheckles) birthday. When he arrived, there were no other people at the home. The witness said Veniale showed up to the house with a gun, and made the witness get into a car with him.

Veniale and another man drove the witness around while holding him at gunpoint for several hours, stopping at a second house and forcing the witness to change into shoes and clothes they provided.

Sheckles was at the second house and allegedly said she wanted the witness gone after her attorney had said he was the one who identified her to police. Throughout the day, Veniale and the other man discussed giving the witness fentanyl or having him jump off of a bridge.

Veniale and the other man then drove the witness to a secluded area near Fife where they told the witness to exit the car and start walking. As the witness began to run away, he was shot several times.

On Feb. 26, Veniale and Sheckles were taken into custody after exiting a Bellevue apartment. Law enforcement found Veniale in possession of a firearm and another firearm inside the apartment.

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