King County prosecutors have charged a 17-year-old as an adult with first-degree manslaughter in connection with the fatal shooting of his childhood friend in White Center last week.
A 17-year-old high-school student was charged as an adult Wednesday with first-degree manslaughter, accused of fatally shooting his childhood friend Friday afternoon during a supposed game of Russian roulette, according to King County prosecutors.
The night before the shooting, Liam Carter spent the night at the house of a family friend in White Center. Carter was housesitting for the 61-year-old homeowner, who was checking himself into rehab, charging papers say. The homeowner, who had previously been burglarized, gave Carter a .38 caliber revolver to protect the residence, say the charges, which note several other unsecured firearms were found in the house.
According to charging papers:
After school Friday, Carter picked up his friend, 18-year-old Donovan Spann, and the two ran errands before returning to the White Center house around 4 p.m. Carter had left the revolver out, and the teens began playing with the gun while they smoked marijuana, the charges say.
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After both dry-fired the weapon, Carter began loading it — at which point detectives say Carter told them Spann suggested they play Russian roulette, the papers say. Carter loaded a single round and handed the gun to Spann, who spun the open cylinder, flipped it closed and then pointed it at Carter and pulled the trigger. When nothing happened, Spann returned the gun to Carter, who again spun the cylinder and pulled the trigger, striking Spann in the lower abdomen, charging papers say.
Carter called 911 and began CPR at the dispatcher’s direction, charges say. Then he stopped CPR to load the gun and stage the scene to make it look like the weapon had fallen off a side table and accidentally discharged, which was the story he initially told responding sheriff’s deputies, according to the charges.
“This tragedy is a direct result of Carter’s willingness to engage in incredibly dangerous behavior and disregard the lethal consequences,” Senior Deputy Prosecutor Jason Simmons wrote in charging papers. “Additionally, although Carter began CPR on Donovan, he chose to stop trying to save his dying friend in order to stage the scene to make it look like the shooting was an accident.”
By the time medics arrived, Spann was dead, the charges say.
Carter is to be arraigned March 27 at the Maleng Regional Justice Center in Kent.
Earlier this week, Spann’s older sister said the family doubts Carter’s account that the two young men were playing Russian roulette.
“I know my brother. I helped raise my brother. He would not be playing Russian roulette,” Neenah West said.
She also said the suspect would never purposefully hurt her brother.
“We feel no anger toward him. We love him; we pray for him. He’s having a hard time,” she said.