King County prosecutors have charged a 35-year-old Redmond man with premeditated first-degree murder, accusing him of shooting his mother in May with a hunting rifle while she slept in the apartment they shared.
A $2 million warrant has been issued for the arrest of Charles Kramer, who was charged with murder on Friday but who remained at large as of Monday afternoon, according to prosecutors and Redmond police. The murder charge also includes an alleged firearm enhancement and an aggravating circumstance that the shooting was an act of domestic violence.
Ramona Whited, 59, died early on May 13 from a single gunshot wound to the head and was found in her bed hours later after Kramer called 911 around 5 p.m. that day, according to the charges.
“According to the police investigation in this case the defendant shot and killed his mother in her bed. After killing her, he hid the murder weapon and waited for hours to notify the police of her death,” Senior Deputy Prosecutor Alexandra Voorhees wrote in the charges. “He then concocted several possible scenarios for how his mother died and who may have been responsible, however there is no evidence to support those claims.”
Kramer has no known criminal history, according to prosecutors. Court records do not yet indicate if he has an attorney.
According to the charges:
Police were called to an apartment complex in the 9300 block of Avondale Road Northeast after Kramer called 911 at 5:08 p.m. on May 13 and reported his mother was unresponsive in bed. Arriving officers noticed blood on Whited’s nose and mouth and in the bed but could find no obvious trauma to her body.
Three days later, death investigators with the King County Medical Examiner’s Office determined she had been shot once in the back of the head but the injury had been concealed by Whited’s thick black hair. A .22 caliber bullet was recovered during the autopsy.
Detectives returned to the Avondale apartment to conduct a follow-up investigation and were met by Kramer, his sister and brother-in-law, who let them inside. The living room, hallway and both bedrooms were filled with boxes from floor to ceiling and an initial search of Whited’s bedroom did not turn up a firearm or shell casing, leading detectives to conclude her death was not a suicide.
The charges note the apartment was so cluttered and packed with boxes that crime-scene investigators concentrated their search in Whited’s bedroom but didn’t move all the boxes in the second bedroom.
During the investigation, Redmond police detectives learned Whited and Kramer had a troubled relationship, “with Whited being controlling, manipulative and sometimes abusive toward Kramer,” say the charges. Though Kramer, who apparently has an undiagnosed developmental delay, had been attempting to move out and live more independently, that never happened, according to the charges.
Police say Kramer told them he’d last seen his mother alive just before 6 p.m. on May 12; he fell asleep around 10 p.m. and slept until 9:30 a.m. the next morning. But police later found Kramer made several social media posts at 4 a.m. on May 13.
On May 21, Kramer’s sister called the lead Redmond detective and said while cleaning out the second bedroom, she and her sister had found a rifle wrapped in a blanket and secured with zip ties beneath a coffee table piled high with boxes. Also found was a box and plastic bag filled with .22-caliber ammunition, say the charges, noting that two bullets were missing from the box of 50.
The rifle, ammunition and bullet recovered from Whited’s body were sent to the State Patrol Crime Lab, but a ballistic comparison was inconclusive. However, Kramer’s DNA was found on the rifle’s trigger, magazine cap and barrel, according to the charges.
In an Oct. 15 follow-up interview with Kramer, police say Kramer was shown a photo of the rifle and claimed he’d never seen or handled the weapon before and could offer no explanation as to how his DNA had been found on it, the charges say.
According to the charges, police found no evidence to support Kramer’s claims that his mother committed suicide or was killed by an unknown assailant.