By Diana Hefley Herald Writer
EVERETT — Tonja Jones remembers her nephew pointing to the huge, plastic Tyrannosaurus Rex.
The little boy wanted that mean-looking dinosaur more than anything else in the toy store.
Derrick Everson was beside himself with excitement when he unwrapped the T. rex on a long-ago Christmas.
He also wouldn’t go near the thing.
The boy adored dinosaurs. He loved the thought of scaring his older brother and grandma with the toy. He was just too afraid to touch the dinosaur.
“That was Derrick. He loved to scare people, but he didn’t like being scared,” his grandmother Sharon Jones said recently.
That makes the way Everson, 21, died even more difficult for his family. Was there time for fear when he felt the knife slice into his body?
“I see him lying in the fetal position, crying for help. I can’t seem to shake the picture out of my head,” Sharon Jones said. “I just want to touch him again. I want to tell him I’m sorry I wasn’t there to save him. I wasn’t there to protect him.”
Everson was stabbed 25 times not far from his grandmother’s Everett home. The knife pierced his brain, heart and other vital organs. His family only hopes he didn’t suffer. They pray God took his fear away.
Everett police arrested David Kopp several hours after Everson’s body was found on Aug. 20 in a wooded area near Broadway. Prosecutors charged Kopp, 19, with first-degree murder. They believe he may have planned to kill Everson in the hours leading up to the attack. He told at least one person he was going to put Everson on the ground, Snohomish County deputy prosecutor Matt Hunter wrote in court papers.
Everson, Kopp and two other men were smoking marijuana and drinking beer before the killing, witnesses told police. They were walking to one of the men’s homes when Kopp attacked Everson, Hunter wrote.
Kopp told investigators the slaying was unprovoked, court papers said. He appeared Friday in Snohomish County Superior Court, where his trial was rescheduled for Jan. 22.
Sharon Jones, 64, doesn’t believe her grandson was friends with Kopp. The two shared a mutual friend but Everson never brought Kopp over to her house, she said.
Jones raised Everson and his brother with the help of their aunt, Tonja.
Everson was good-natured, funny and loving, his grandmother said. When he was a boy he’d pull his arms behind his back and tell his grandma and aunt that he loved them all the way around the world and back again.
He spoke his mind and joked that he was handsome enough to be a model. He adored his brother’s son.
He hated spiders. He loved Halloween. He once quit his job at Wienerschnitzel so he could work for a couple of weeks at a Halloween Spirit store, his aunt said.
He had struggled in special education classes during his school years and didn’t graduate from high school. Sometimes he was teased, his grandma said.
He wanted to fit in and shrugged off the teasing, his family said. His aunt believes he kept the hurt to himself.
Everson was working to find his way in life, his grandmother said.
Tonja Jones is angry he didn’t get a chance.
His family takes some comfort in their belief that Everson drew closer to God in the days before his death. The weekend before he was killed, he talked to a pastor. He told his family he had found God.
He made amends with his brother and sister. He told his aunt and grandma he loved them.
“He isn’t in pain anymore. He’s not the butt of someone’s joke,” Sharon Jones said. “God must have said, ‘You’ve had enough Derrick. I’m bringing you home now.’”
Diana Hefley: 425-339-3463, firstname.lastname@example.org.