EVERETT, Wash. (AP) — A jury has found a Washington state man guilty of stomping a woman to death after paying her for sex two years ago.
Jamel Alexander, 31, was convicted on Tuesday of first-degree murder in the killing of Shawna Brune, 29, following a three-week trial in Snohomish County Superior Court, The Daily Herald reported Wednesday. Jurors deliberated for about 24 hours.
Prosecutors said Alexander beat and stomped Brune after paying her $100 for sex near a parking lot in Everett in October 2019. A man walking his dog found her body the next day, authorities said.
Prosecutors said security footage showed Alexander looking at red stains on his shoes at a gas station that night about a mile (1.6 kilometers) from the crime scene.
Detectives believe it was Brune’s blood, but Alexander did not have the shoes by the time authorities located him. Alexander later told investigators the stains on his shoes were from a spilled red energy drink. It is unclear if the shoes were ever found by authorities.
Defense attorneys Kenneth Williams and Rachel Forde argued the detectives handled the case unfairly because Alexander is Black. Williams argued investigators should have pursued more leads before singling out Alexander, including submitting more evidence for DNA testing and preserving additional video.
Williams also argued his life circumstances also played a part in the investigation.
Alexander had previous violent convictions in California, including two counts of assault with a deadly weapon. Prosecutors said the defendant could face life in prison without the possibility of parole if the new conviction counted as his “third strike.”
Forde argued that the court and prosecutors prevented key evidence from being presented at trial, and that Alexander’s case wasn’t heard by a jury of his peers.
“Jamel Alexander is a Black man, and not one person on the jury was Black,” she said. “It’s just an absolute tragedy that, yet again, an innocent man was convicted.”
Deputy prosecutor Craig Matheson argued the evidence simply pointed to Alexander, not a “racial animus” against him.
Judge George Appel scheduled a sentencing hearing for Friday.