Greenwood murder suspect a no-show at first court appearance

Greenwood murder suspect a no-show at first court appearance
Byron White
SEATTLE -- The teen boy suspected of fatally shooting a 54-year-old man in Greenwood after a failed robbery last week waived his right to appear during his first court appearance Monday.

Police say the victim, David Peterson was shot as he called 911 to report the teen had just tried to steal his cell phone. Peterson died at the scene. The suspected shooter, who has been identified as 17-year-old Byron White, remained on the run until he was captured at Sea-Tac Airport over the weekend. He's now being held in juvenile detention for investigation of first degree murder.

Prosecutors now have 72 hours to charge White. If they do charge him, because he's 17, he must be charged as an adult.

In King County Juvenile Court Monday, Peterson's wife and brother waited nervously for White to appear at his first hearing, but he never showed. Instead, White's attorney told the judge the murder suspect didn't want to face anyone.

Outside the courtroom, the victim's brother told us he flew all the way from Minnesota to show support.

"I think it's my responsibility to my brother and his family to walk this through," said Greg Peterson.

Seattle police accuse White of shooting David Peterson a week ago outside the Fred Meyer in the Greenwood neighborhood. Court documents say White tried to steal Peterson's cell phone, but walked away when Peterson wouldn't give it to him.

Then, White heard the victim then calling 911, and detectives say White turned around, pulled out a gun and shot Peterson once in the chest.

On Friday, detectives served a search warrant at White's home just down the street from the murder scene. On Saturday, Port of Seattle police arrested White at Sea-Tac Airport. They say White bought a one-way ticket to Atlanta to try and get away. Police say White confessed to killing Peterson and to stealing his cell phone afterward.

Friends describe Peterson as quiet man who walked his dog through that part of his neighborhood almost every night.

Greg Peterson says he's willing to wait however long for justice to be served.

"It's a very significant tragedy in our life and we're not just going to walk away from it," he said.

White was ordered to remain in detention pending the filing of official charges. Prosecutors have until Wednesday to do so.