According to our news partners The Seattle Times, the Ballard High School senior accused of fatally shooting David L. Peterson in Greenwood last month pleaded not guilty on Monday morning to first-degree murder.
Peterson was out for an evening walk on Sunday, February 23, when he called 911 around 8:27 p.m. to report that he had been the victim of an attempted robbery. While he was on the phone, the accused 17-year-old Byron K. A. White allegedly returned to the scene.
“We heard the victim in his own voice talking about the incident,” said homicide Det. Cloyd Steiger, who led the investigation for the Seattle Police Department. “He said that the guy was coming back toward him and then there’s a scuffle and the phone went dead.”
MyNorthwest.com reports that Peterson died at the scene of a single gunshot wound to the chest. Court documents also reveal the motive for the shooting, as White told friends that Peterson had seen his face and he “had to shoot him.”
White was arrested on March 1 at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport where he was preparing to board a flight to Atlanta. SPD reports that White’s mother alerted them to his whereabouts.
White was charged as an adult on Monday morning with first-degree murder, attempted robbery, and unlawful possession of a firearm. According to The Seattle Times report, despite being under 18, White was charged under a state law that “allows 16- and 17-year-olds suspected of serious, violent offenses to be charged as adults automatically.”
In addition to pleading not guilty to first-degree murder, White also pleaded not guilty to second-degree unlawful possession of a firearm and second-degree attempted robbery. According to King County prosecutor, if convicted he could be facing 27 to 35 years in prison.
According to The Seattle Times, White is currently being held in lieu of $2 million bail.