Snohomish County prosecutors added a charge of second-degree murder Thursday against Everett police Officer Troy Meade, who previously was charged with first-degree manslaughter in the fatal shooting of a man seated in a car outside a restaurant last year.

Share story

Snohomish County prosecutors added a charge of second-degree murder Thursday against Everett police Officer Troy Meade, who previously was charged with first-degree manslaughter in the fatal shooting of a man seated in a car outside a restaurant last year.

Jurors in Meade’s upcoming trial in Snohomish County Superior Court will now have the option of convicting Meade of one or both criminal counts, or acquitting him.

To prove the new charge, which relies on the prosecution’s same version of events, prosecutors must show Meade acted with intent to kill.

Meade’s attorney, David Allen, of Seattle, said he will oppose the prosecution’s amended complaint and ask that prosecutors either not be allowed to file a murder charge, or be required to choose between one of the two charges.

Prosecutors initially filed the lesser charge of manslaughter in October, accusing Meade of recklessly shooting to death Niles Meservey, 51, last June in the parking lot of the Chuckwagon Inn in North Everett while Meade was handling a drunken-driving call involving Meservey.

Meservey allegedly wouldn’t get out of his car. Meade first shot Meservey with a Taser, then Meservey’s car, parked between two other cars, lurched forward into a fence, according to charging papers.

According to another Everett officer’s account, Meade said something like: “Time to end this; enough is enough,” and opened fire, the charging papers say.

The other officer also told investigators Meservey posed no immediate threat to anyone in the area.

Meservey, who had a blood-alcohol level of 0.26, more than three times the state’s legal limit, was shot seven times in the back, shoulder and wrist. Detectives found eight bullet casings near Meservey’s Chevrolet Corvette, according to charging papers.

In court papers filed this week, Allen wrote that if Meade takes the stand during his trial scheduled for next month, he will deny making any statements after the Corvette hit the fence.

Meade, who joined the Everett department in 1998 and is currently on paid administrative leave, also will deny that he used obscenities while ordering Meservey out of the car, according to the court papers.

During the incident, Meade believed he would be killed or seriously injured and fired because he feared Meservey would back up and hit him, the court papers say.

Civilian witnesses who were nearby did not hear Meade make the “enough is enough” remark or use obscenities, Allen wrote.

Meade’s state of mind at the time of the shooting was influenced by a prior incident, according to Allen.

In 2006, Meade was involved in a similar situation, in which he and another officer attempted to detain a driver who appeared to be drunk or on drugs, the court papers say. The suspect suddenly backed up his car and the other officer was hit and injured, Allen wrote.

Meade and a third officer, who was almost hit by the car, fired shots at the car, but the suspect was not hit by bullets, the court papers say.

In that case, a prosecutor found that Meade and the other officer were justified in firing shots because they faced a life-threatening situation, Allen wrote, adding that the 2006 incident was on Meade’s mind when he confronted Meservey.

“He was very concerned that he was going to be struck and killed or seriously injured by the Corvette, especially because the suspect was intoxicated, belligerent and had not followed any of his commands,” Allen wrote.

Allen also wrote that Meservey, during a domestic incident in 2008 at the home of his former wife, locked himself in a bedroom when Snohomish County sheriff’s deputies were called.

Meservey then briefly opened the door, pointed to his chest and told a deputy to “put a bullet in my chest” before closing the door and refusing to cooperate, according to Allen.

Deputies forced their way into the bedroom with a shield and had to use a Taser on Meservey to take him into custody, Allen wrote.

But a judge won’t allow that incident to be admitted during the trial because Meade wasn’t aware of it at the time he encountered Meservey in the parking lot, Allen said Thursday.

Information from Seattle Times archives is included in this story.

Steve Miletich: 206-464-3302 or smiletich@seattletimes.com