Days before his trial was to begin last month, a now 22-year-old man pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in connection with the shooting death of Melvin “TayTay” Dees in September 2014. On Friday, Kenneth Bernard Jones Jr. was sentenced to 20 years in prison.
A now 22-year-old man was sentenced Friday to 20 years in prison for gunning down another man at Seattle’s Fortson Square in September 2014, according to King County prosecutors.
Kenneth Bernard Jones Jr., a 19-year-old who had arrived from Texas two months earlier, fatally shot 22-year-old Melvin “TayTay” Dees in a triangle of park space at Second Avenue Extension South and Yesler Way on Sept. 24, 2014. Jones was arrested six days later in Federal Way and was charged with first-degree murder with a firearm.
Jones pleaded guilty to first-degree murder on Sept. 20, days before he was to stand trial; in exchange for his guilty plea, prosecutors dismissed the firearm enhancement that would have added five years to his sentence, court records show.
According to the defense’s trial brief, Jones — who suffers from fetal alcohol syndrome — came to Seattle to reconnect with his father and father’s family. He apparently shot Dees at the behest of a family member, though Jones later refused to implicate his relative, the brief says.
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The relative, who apparently had a motive to harm Dees, accompanied Jones to the shooting but has not been charged in connection with Dees’ death, according to the brief.