Bullets link murder suspect to other shootings

EVERETT — State forensic scientists have matched five bullets recovered in a string of shootings in Snohomish County with two handguns seized from the home of a Marysville man suspected of the June 1 killing of a Seattle girl, a judge was told Tuesday.

There is “fairly overwhelming circumstantial evidence” that the killing of Molly Conley, 15, and the drive-by shootings a short time later in Lake Stevens and Marysville were committed by the same person, Prosecuting Attorney Mark Roe said during a brief hearing in Everett District Court.

Judge Tam Bui ruled there’s probable cause to hold Erick Nathaniel Walker, 27, for investigation of second-degree murder and multiple counts of drive-by shooting.

She set his bail at $5 million.

Before the afternoon was out, prosecutors charged Walker with one count of second-degree murder, five counts of second-degree assault and four counts of drive-by shooting.

Molly was shot while walking with friends who joined her in Lake Stevens for a birthday celebration.

Walker is represented by Mark Mestel, a seasoned defense attorney from Everett. The lawyer didn’t contest there is evidence to suspect his client in the drive-bys, but he reserved argument on bail and whether prosecutors have cause to hold his client on a homicide allegation.

Outside the courtroom, Mestel said that no evidence has been produced so far connecting Walker to the girl’s killing.

The investigation continues, Roe said. Among other things, he said, detectives expect to analyze information from cellphones and cellphone towers. The data can be used to place a person near a crime scene at a specific time.

Conley’s killing and gunfire that broke out early June 2 in Lake Stevens and Marysville was investigated by a team of a dozen detectives.

In a 24-page affidavit filed with the court, Snohomish County sheriff’s detective Brad Pince detailed how a trail of spent bullets, paint chips and circumstance led investigators to Walker.

He was arrested Friday after detectives concluded that paint chips and damage to Walker’s black Pontiac G6 coupe are consistent with evidence left when the shooter’s vehicle crashed into a car parked at one of the drive-by shootings, just blocks from the man’s home.

Detectives also determined from firearms registration records, and from reviewing the man’s Facebook photos, that Walker owned a Ruger Blackhawk handgun and M1 carbine rifles, which fire the same .30-caliber ammunition recovered at the drive-by shootings.

When Walker’s weapons were seized, detectives learned he owned two .30-caliber Ruger Blackhawk handguns, Roe said.

Tests by the Washington State Patrol crime lab matched two of the slugs recovered in the investigation to one of the handguns, and three to another, he said.

While no bullets were recovered at the scene of Molly’s killing, the prosecutor said investigators believe they not only have tracked down her killer, but also have identified the firearms he used.

“These are the two weapons that we believe were used in these crimes,” Roe said.

Walker is a Boeing worker who grew up in Stanwood. His most serious brushes with the law so far appear to have been some speeding tickets.

The sheriff’s office on Monday said that they’ve found no connection between him and Molly, and that it appears the gunfire was random.

Prosecutors have until July 19* to move the case to Snohomish County Superior Court. They’ve made clear they’d like to file a first-degree murder charge, based on a theory that the gunfire exhibited extreme indifference to human life. The second-degree murder charge filed Tuesday alleges the killing occurred while Walker was engaged in felony assault.

Scott North: 425-339-3431, north@heraldnet.com.

* Correction: This article has been corrected since it was first posted to accurately state the deadline for prosecutors to move the case to superior court.

More in Local News

Suspect sought in two Everett bank robberies

He’s described as 5-foot-10 to 6-foot-1, with dark hair and a goatee, and may have a neck tattoo.

Jogger unharmed after fending off attacker in Edmonds

Police released video of a man they believe to be the attacker.

Two missing men found, one alive and one dead

The man found alive was found in an apartment across the hallway and taken to a hospital.

Darrington School Board dealing with upheavals

The crux of the controversy seems to be the superintendent’s job.

Alaska Airlines has selected destinations for new service from Paine Field. (Alaska Airlines)
Alaska Airlines will fly from Everett to 8 West Coast cities

Two destinations that didn’t make the list were Spokane and Hawaii.

Three teens arrested for Marysville school vandalism

Windows were broken and a trash bin was on fire Sunday night at a Marysville middle school.

Langley mayor threatens newspaper with lawsuit

The mayor threatened to sue the paper over claims he withheld public records disclosure information.

Divers called to recover body after train hits pedestrian

The accident was reported by a BNSF crew near Woods Creek in Monroe.

Katharine Graham, then CEO and chairwoman of the board of The Washington Post Co., looks over a copy of The Daily Herald with Larry Hanson, then The Herald’s publisher, during her visit to Everett on Sept. 20, 1984. The Washington Post Co. owned The Herald from 1978 until 2013. (Herald archives)
A local connection to history

Retired Herald publisher Larry Hanson remembers The Post’s Katharine Graham, who visited several times.

Most Read