A 48-year-old man pleaded not guilty Thursday to an upgraded charge of first-degree murder, accused of mortally wounding a 66-year-old man in a brazen daytime attack in downtown Seattle this month.
Aaron Fulk was initially charged with attempted first-degree murder for allegedly bludgeoning Rodney Peterman in the head with a metal pullup bar in front of several witnesses — including a Seattle police officer — at Third Avenue and Pike Street on Aug. 2, according to charging papers.
Bystanders performed CPR on Peterman before medics arrived at the scene, but he never regained consciousness, the charges say. He died from his injuries four days later at Harborview Medical Center, according to King County prosecutors.
A Seattle police officer was driving east on Pike Street around 3 p.m. on the day of the attack and heard a man yelling for help, the charges say. As she approached Third Avenue, she saw a man, later identified as Fulk, raise a metal bar over his head and strike Peterman twice in the back of the head, say the charges.
Fulk delivered a third blow to Peterman’s temple after Peterman had fallen unresponsive to the ground on the southwest corner, charging papers say. The officer noted in her police report that Peterman was unarmed and used a walker to ambulate, the charges say.
Though Fulk attempted to walk away, he was quickly arrested at the scene, according to the charges. It is unknown whether the two men knew each other.
“The defendant admitted to officers that he was trying to kill the victim, and while acknowledging the victim was the first that he attacked in this manner, [he] made it clear this victim would not be his last,” Senior Deputy Prosecutor Gretchen Holmgren wrote in the charges.
Fulk, who has prior convictions in Idaho, was charged in Pierce County with felony harassment in July for threatening to kill a transit public safety officer, court records show. He was released on personal recognizance in that case.
Fulk remains jailed on the murder charge in lieu of $2.5 million bail.