EVERETT — An Arlington man has been charged with second-degree murder after an evening of escalating confrontations left an Everett man dead.
Prosecutors allege Jesse Engerseth, 22, crashed his car into Michael A. Smith on purpose.
Engerseth pleaded not guilty Monday.
Smith, 32, had noticed a silver Chevrolet Impala parked outside his home in the late afternoon of June 28, on Poplar Street. He suspected the people in the Chevy — Engerseth, his cousin, and a female friend — were using drugs, according to the charges.
Later, the defendant told police that Smith came up to them and hit a car door with what appeared to be a handgun, as he told the group to leave. Nobody reported the incident to police at that point.
Engerseth dropped off his friend and drove a half-mile southwest to the 1700 block of McDougall Avenue, according to what he told police.
He fell asleep in his car. He woke up to the loud revving of a Honda Civic’s engine. He suspected it was Smith, and he went back to Smith’s house to retaliate, according to the charges. He reported he threw an auto jack at the Honda, and left the area.
Engerseth was parked in the 2200 block of 12th Street, around the corner from Smith’s home, when he saw the Honda again in an alley about 30 feet in front of him. Smith had parked in a way that he was blocking in the Chevy, and he got out of the Honda carrying a stick, according to the charging papers.
Engerseth accelerated, hit Smith and kept going, prosecutors wrote.
Smith suffered severe head injuries. He died at Providence Regional Medical Center Everett.
Engerseth went to a friend’s home afterward. He told two people he’d hit someone with his car, and that man was going to die, the charges say.
“The Defendant further stated he had run over the Victim on purpose and that the man deserved it,” wrote deputy prosecutor Jacqueline Lawrence.
Police caught up to Engerseth as he was riding a bicycle back to the crash scene with a friend.
He was booked into the Snohomish County Jail, where he remained this week with bail.
Engerseth’s cousin told Everett police that he was a passenger in the car for each of the confrontations, and he confirmed much of the defendant’s account.
Everett police searched the Chevy on July 11. They found a revolver, live .22-caliber rounds and a gun cleaning kit, according to a search warrant. A no-contact order issued in May had required Engerseth to immediately surrender any firearms to police.
Court records show the defendant had no prior felony convictions.
In arguing for $250,000 bail, a prosecutor alleged Engerseth had committed an act of “cruel, random, and extreme violence” against a complete stranger.
A judge maintained his bail at that amount Monday.
Caleb Hutton: 425-339-3454; firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @snocaleb.