The accused killer, Curtis J. Walker, 35, is charged with first-degree murder in the killing of 12-year-old Alajawan Brown.
Alajawan was shot in the parking lot of a 7-Eleven store on April 29 while walking home. His relatives sat just a few feet away from Walker in court on Thursday, wanting to hear his plea in person.
On Wednesday, the victim's family members held a tribute for the beloved boy. They planted a small tree in his honor near the location where he was shot.
"I'm seeing the potential in the tree, and I know what could have been from my son," said mother Ayanna Brown.
Police originally thought he was hit by a stray bullet from a shooting at a nearby apartment complex. But now investigators say Walker, a friend of the apartment shooting victim, shot Alajawan because he believed the kid was the one responsible.
But it was a case of mistaken identity, said King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg, since Alajawan had nothing to do with the apartment shooting.
Court documents say after Alajawan was shot outside the 7-Eleven, there was a hit-and-run accident a short distance away involving a black Cadillac that fled the scene. A witness recorded the license plate and detectives found the car was registered to the wife of Curtis Walker.
A short time later, a man was spotted dumping suspicious items in a field, then returning to the Cadillac. Police were called and recovered three handguns, including the .38 revolver that detectives later determined was used at the 7-Eleven shooting.
DNA processed from the gun's trigger and bullets in the casing were a match to Walker, documents said.
Witnesses also told police they saw a man matching Walker's description exiting a red Cadillac, armed with a revolver, and shoot in the direction of Alajawan. The man was then seen getting into the passenger seat of a black Cadillac that fled the scene, prosecutors said, adding one witness later identified Walker as the shooter.
A friend of Walker, who prosecutors say was driving the black Cadillac, told detectives he saw Walker shoot at someone wearing a blue jacket (Alajawan) standing on the sidewalk near the 7-Eleven, then Walker jumped back in the car and told him to drive. As they were leaving, Walker told the friend that he shot the person because "he had shot his friend," referring to the victim at the nearby Cedar Village apartment complex shooting.
After the shooting, the friend said Walker told his father what had happened and said, "This is on the Bloods," referring to his gang membership, prosecutors said.
But charging documents say Alajawan couldn't have been the shooter at the Cedar Village apartments because he was captured on video surveillance camera outside the 7-Eleven store at the time of the apartment shooting.
The video shows Alajawan getting off a bus in front of the store shortly before the apartment shooting. He is out of view of the camera for a little over a minute, then is seen falling to the sidewalk after he was shot in front of the store.
"This would eliminate the possibility of (Alajawan) Brown being at the scene of the Cedar Village as it is too far from the 7-Eleven for Alajawan to have walked there," charging documents say.
Walker has a lengthy criminal history, prosecutors said, including several convictions for assault, drugs, and firearms violations.