Hassani Hassani is arraigned for double torture killings at the Snohomish County Courthouse in Everett on Sept. 18. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Hassani Hassani is arraigned for double torture killings at the Snohomish County Courthouse in Everett on Sept. 18. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Another Mukilteo man is guilty of murder in torture killings

Hassani Hassani, 20, is the second defendant to plead guilty to torturing and killing Ezekiel Kelly.

EVERETT — A second defendant pleaded guilty Thursday to the torture and murder of an Everett man.

Hassani Hassani, 20, admitted to first-degree kidnapping and first-degree murder. Both convictions are for the death of Ezekiel Kelly. Prosecutors have proposed 35 years in prison.

A sentencing hearing is set for late April.

The plea comes four months after Hassani’s friend and co-defendant, Anthony Hernandez-Cano, 18, was sentenced to life behind bars. He’d pleaded guilty to the aggravated murders of Kelly and Mohamad Adan.

Charging papers say the two killings were “intimately linked.”

Adan, 21, of Seattle, was beaten, burned and shot to death.

Hassani and Adan were together June 30, when Hernandez-Cano and his girlfriend picked up the Seattle man, abducted him and beat him during a drive to rural north Snohomish County. Hernandez-Cano believed Adan “snitched” on him for violating a no-contact order.

Hassani had a grudge against Adan, too. He claimed he caught him trying to kiss his girlfriend, according to charging papers. Hassani did not ride in the car, but he kept in touch with Hernandez-Cano while Adan was tortured.

“Finish him for me,” Hassani texted his friend, shortly before the fatal shots were fired, the charges say. Passersby found the body July 1, on the outskirts of Blue Stilly Park near Arlington.

Two days later the body of Kelly, 22, of Everett, was discovered at an abandoned home off Beverly Park Road in Mukilteo.

According to Hassani’s interview with police, he and Hernandez-Cano went looking for Kelly on July 2. Someone had told Hernandez-Cano it was actually Kelly who reported the no-contact order violation.

They picked him up in front of a pizza restaurant. This time Hassani came along. They took Kelly to a wooded spot near Edmonds and beat him with a baseball bat. Afterward, during a drive to Mukilteo, Hernandez-Cano used Hassani’s dagger to stab Kelly many times in the back seat.

Kelly had 27 knife wounds.

At a derelict house, Hernandez-Cano gave a gun to Hassani and told him to shoot, according to Hassani’s account.

“Yeah, he told me to do it, but like, I made up my mind and I guess I wanted to do it … to prove something … to prove to (Hernandez-Cano) that I’m actually the cool guy like he is,” he said, according to charging papers. “‘Cause he’s always talking about he did this and this, and I never did anything like it.”

Hassani shot Kelly three times in the head.

At first, Hassani was charged with aggravated murder. Prosecutors never charged him for his alleged role in Adan’s murder.

Hernandez-Cano’s girlfriend, Lendsay Meza, 21, is awaiting trial. She’s accused of driving the car in both homicides and bludgeoning Kelly with a baseball bat in the woods. She’s charged with one count of aggravated murder, in Kelly’s death.

According to a letter Hernandez-Cano submitted after his sentencing, he’d been talking to Meza about “a murder I wanna do” in late June, and that made her scared of him.

“So I told Lendsay Meza that if she didn’t help me to do the murders I was going to kill her family then after that I was going to kill her,” Hernandez-Cano wrote.

Court papers filed this week show Hernandez-Cano wants to withdraw his guilty plea. He claimed there was newly discovered evidence but did not explain further. He also claimed his attorney never told him he’d be sentenced to life in prison for aggravated murder. His statements at a guilty plea hearing seem to contradict the latter claim.

“The only sentence provided by law in the state of Washington for this offense is life, without possibility of parole or release,” the judge told Hernandez-Cano last summer. “You understand that?”

A Spanish interpreter gave Hernandez-Cano’s reply, “Yes.”

Caleb Hutton: 425-339-3454; chutton@heraldnet.com. Twitter: @snocaleb.

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