Suspect in slayings has local gang ties

EVERETT — A suspect in a double slaying in Seattle over the weekend has local gang ties and a history of assault and weapons charges in Everett.

Matalepuna Malu, 26, of Everett, was booked into jail in King County on Sunday. He is accused of shooting two men earlier that morning in the area of S. King Street and 29th Avenue S.

Bail was set at $1 million Monday for the man who goes by the street name June Bug.

Seattle police arrived in less than a minute after getting multiple 911 calls. They found two young men lying in the street. Both were pronounced dead at the scene.

A caller told police that Malu allegedly admitted shooting someone in the face and was sure he was dead. Malu was “crying hysterically when he called,” according to paperwork police used to establish probable cause for the arrest.

Malu allegedly said “it started as an altercation, but things happened very fast,” the court papers said.

Malu also reportedly said he threw away the gun and was headed to California.

After his name was released as being a suspect in the shootings, Malu allegedly called homicide detectives saying that he was innocent was wanted to clear his name. He arrived at Seattle police headquarters Sunday afternoon and was arrested.

During questioning, he denied involvement.

Malu already was awaiting trial on charges of harassment and assault in Snohomish County Superior Court. Earlier this month, the trial date was moved from June to August.

Malu was arrested in September after allegedly choking and punching an Everett man Aug. 17 at a home in the 1700 block of 121st Street SE.

In 2011, Malu was sentenced to 2 1/2 years behind bars after pleading guilty in federal court to being a felon in possession of a .45-caliber semi-automatic handgun. Everett police found the gun in Malu’s bedroom during an assault investigation.

Malu was connected to the Waco Boys, a gang that was selling oxycontin in the Everett area. The gang sold drugs to undercover agents and people working with law enforcement in 2009 and 2010, according to court records. Malu and his roommates were arrested in June 2010, but prosecutors didn’t charge him in the drug-dealing scheme.

In August 2010, Malu was jailed in connection with the fatal shooting of a heroin dealer on W. Casino Road. He later was released and not charged.

Two other men connected to the Waco Boys were charged with crimes related to the case. Eric “Icky” Lowe was convicted of first-degree murder and Jeffrey Cleator pleaded guilty to robbery and burglary. Both were sentenced to long prison terms.

In January 2011, police were called to Malu’s home after his girlfriend jumped from a second-story window, allegedly to escape being assaulted. When the home was searched, police found drugs, body armor and a firearm reported stolen from a Mill Creek home in 2009.

Snohomish County prosecutors charged Malu with multiple crimes but later dismissed their case after Malu was indicted on federal gun charges.

In the Everett case set for trial in August, police said the victim had injuries around the neck from being strangled as well as a swollen eye.

The victim told police that Malu claimed to be “a real gangster.” He was able to free himself when a witness intervened. Malu was arrested after reporting in with his federal probation officer.

In 2005, then 17, Malu pleaded guilty in juvenile court to breaking into the apartment of a former girlfriend. Prosecutors alleged he slapped and choked her until a deputy sheriff kicked open the front door and found Malu hiding.

Eric Stevick: 425-339-3446; stevick@heraldnet.com.

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