A 19-year-old Renton man was sentenced this morning to 69 years in prison for fatally shooting one man and wounding three other people inside a Rainier Avenue South bus shelter in September 2011.
Before learning the sentence, Say (pronounced Si) Keodara loudly proclaimed his innocence and vowed to appeal his conviction. He said he didn’t care how many years the judge gave him because he was an innocent man who would be serving the equivalent of a life sentence.
Keodara then tried to walk out of the courtroom before the hearing was over, but was grappled back to his seat by four guards.
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A King County jury last month convicted Keodara of first-degree murder, three counts of first-degree assault and unlawful possession of a firearm. He faced a sentence range of 78 to 98 years in prison, including firearm enhancements.
During opening statements in his trial on May 8, Senior Deputy Prosecutor Carla Carlstrom said Keodara shot the four victims because he was angry that none had money or valuables to give him. Carlstrom described the victims as “three homeless men and a woman who was in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
But defense attorney Ramona Brandes characterized the case as a “good old-fashioned whodunit,” inisting there was no physical evidence tying her client to the crimes.
The shootings happened just before 3 a.m. on Sept. 12, 2011. Three homeless men — Victor Parker, 54, Hassan Arr, 29, and Archie Henderson, 68 — were drinking beer in a bus shelter on the northwest corner of Rainier Avenue South and South McClellan Street, Carlstrom told jurors.
The fourth victim, Sharon McMillon, 43, had just purchased beer at the Chevron gas station across the street and was waiting for a bus to take her back to her mother’s house, Carlstrom said.
A car pulled up and one of three Asian males inside asked if anyone wanted to buy some crack cocaine, jurors were told. Parker expressed interest, prompting the driver to turn around and park in the lot of a nearby business. The three men, one with an handgun, walked up to the bus shelter, Carlstrom said.
“But Mr. Parker didn’t have money to buy anything,” she said.
Ordered at gunpoint to hand over their money and valuables, McMillon gave the gunman her purse, Carlstrom said.
“The defendant was angry. He wanted money,” she said.
Parker was shot first and collapsed on the sidewalk with a shattered leg bone. Arr tried to flee and was shot twice. McMillon and Henderson, who were crouched down in the bus shelter, were then shot; McMillon in the thigh and Henderson in the knee, jurors heard. The gunman then stood over Parker and shot him in the middle of his forehead.
Keodara’s ex-girlfriend identified him from surveillance footage, and cellphone records placed Keodara in the area at the time of the shootings, according to Carlstrom.
The gun used in the shootings was never found, and the two other Asian males who were at the scene were never identified.