A 16-year-old Federal Way boy was charged as an adult with first-degree murder Tuesday in connection with the fatal shooting of Wesley D. Gennings on Feb. 13. Prosecutors expect to also charge a 14-year-old Wednesday.
Less than three weeks before 16-year-old Wesley D. Gennings was fatally shot in Federal Way, one of his accused killers was in King County Juvenile Court for a string of crimes he committed between January and May of 2015.
Michael Rogers, 16, was sentenced to 12 months of community supervision and ordered to perform 48 hours of community service on Jan. 26, court records show.
King County prosecutors Tuesday charged Rogers as an adult with first-degree murder with a firearm in connection with Gennings’ death. He was also charged with first-degree unlawful possession of a firearm, accused of being armed with a loaded .22-caliber handgun when he was arrested at Thomas Jefferson High School four days after Gennings was killed in the parking lot of a Taco Bell.
Rogers is being held in lieu of $1 million bail at the Maleng Regional Justice Center in Kent, where juveniles who are charged as adults are housed while awaiting trial.
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A 14-year-old alleged accomplice is expected to be charged in juvenile court Wednesday, though prosecutors haven’t yet decided whether to seek to have his case tried in adult, or superior, court, said Dan Donohoe, a spokesman for Prosecutor Dan Satterberg.
Charging papers filed in Rogers’ case don’t explicitly state who Federal Way police believe pulled the trigger, but they note the 14-year-old was allegedly seated in the back seat of Gennings’ car when Gennings was shot once in the back of the head around 8 p.m. Feb. 13.
The Seattle Times does not generally name juvenile suspects unless they are charged as adults.
Several witnesses who came forward “have expressed extreme fear of retaliation by the defendant, his family and his associates,” Senior Deputy Prosecutor Julie Kline wrote of Rogers in charging papers.
Documents previously released in the case indicate that Rogers and Gennings had been friends, with Rogers even attending a New Year’s Eve party at Gennings’ house.
In addition to allegedly setting Gennings up to be robbed, Rogers is accused of stealing Gennings’ marijuana, wallet, cellphone and car keys and later destroying Gennings’ phone and ditching it in an unidentified “body of water,” the charges say.
Last spring, the father of a now-16-year-old student at Thomas Jefferson High School was granted a protection order barring Rogers from coming within 500 feet of the boy.
A couple of months earlier, Rogers stole the teen’s $700 iPhone, then a week later showed up with a group of friends at a restaurant where the boy was eating and threatened him, court records show.
Rogers threatened to beat and shoot the teen and his father and had others make additional threats through emails and phone calls, according to the father’s petition for protection.
In May, Rogers attempted to steal a man’s backpack through the open window of a car at the same Taco Bell restaurant where Gennings was killed, according to court records. The man was inside the car with the bag at his feet and when he fought back, Rogers punched him in the face before the car’s driver sped off, the records say.
The victim in that case later told police “he had initially been reluctant to report the matter due to Rogers’ young age” but decided to do so “after learning from other teenagers that Rogers had reportedly been involved in similar robberies in the same neighborhood,” say the court records.
Also in May, Rogers was involved in robbing a middle-school student and her 17-year-old cousin of candy, a cellphone, a wallet and bank cards, then following the girls home and making various threats to beat them up and shoot up their house, court records say.
Those cases were resolved in January when Rogers pleaded guilty to attempted robbery and assault charges and entered into a deferred disposition.
Juveniles granted deferred dispositions can see their convictions vacated and charges dismissed if they abide by conditions set by a judge and stay out of legal trouble for one year.