Two men each pleaded not guilty on Monday to first-degree murder charges in the fatal shooting of a Federal Way man last month at the Golden Kent Motel.
Stonney Marcus Rivers, 50, and Theneious Swafford, 47, entered their pleas in King County Superior Court at the Maleng Regional Justice Center in Kent. Rivers and Swafford remain in the county jail with bail denied. The two are scheduled to return to court Dec. 18 when a trial date could be set or attorneys could ask for more time to prepare the case.
Rivers is a convicted felon who was sentenced to life in prison under Washington state’s three-strikes law. That sentence, however, was commuted by then-Gov. Christine Gregoire in 2013 during her final days in office. Rivers, who has extensive criminal history, was released from prison in early 2015.
Swafford, who also has extensive criminal history, was under supervision by the state Department of Corrections.
Rivers allegedly fired the shot that killed Cabrera, in an apparent drug deal gone bad. Swafford reportedly drove the sedan that helped Rivers escape. Kent Police used surveillance video from the motel to help track down and arrest the two men.
Rivers told detectives that he was at the motel to get some crystal meth. He said he went there to buy drugs and not to hurt or kill anyone and didn’t know someone was dead.
Prosecutors also charged Rivers with second-degree assault for allegedly pointing a gun at Cabrera’s girlfriend at the motel room and threatening to shoot her. After the threat, Cabrera moved toward Rivers, who then then reportedly shot him.
The criminal history for Rivers includes second-degree robbery in 1985 and 1986, second-degree assault in 1989, second-degree robbery in 1994, first-degree robbery in 1995 and second-degree assault in 1995. A conviction in the murder of Cabrera would again subject Rivers to a sentence of life in prison without the the possibility of parole, according to charging papers.
If convicted in this case, Swafford would suffer at least his third strike and face a possible sentence of life in prison without parole. He was convicted of second-degree assault in 1991 and first-degree robbery in 2003, according to court documents.