This image taken from surveillance video shows suspects involved in an August 2018 shooting at the Brown Bear Car Wash on 164th Street SW in Lynnwood. (Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office)

This image taken from surveillance video shows suspects involved in an August 2018 shooting at the Brown Bear Car Wash on 164th Street SW in Lynnwood. (Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office)

Brown Bear car wash shooter sentenced to 35 years

Tony Williams paralyzed a man with a gunshot to the back of the neck. It’s his second long prison sentence.

EVERETT — A 35-year prison sentence awaits a Snohomish County man who paralyzed another man for life, with a gunshot wound to the back of the neck in a botched robbery.

It’s the second time Tony Williams, 37, will go to prison for a crime that caused irreparable harm. In 2002, he helped carry out the abduction of Rachel Burkheimer, turning up the radio to drown out her screams, before she was stuffed into a hockey bag, driven into the woods and forced to watch as men dug her a grave in rural Snohomish County. She was then shot to death.

Some of the defendants in that case are serving life behind bars. Williams was handed a sentence of 9¾ years.

He’d been free for a few years in August 2018, when a close friend, Nicholas Naylor, concocted a plan to rob a man, 23, in a drug ripoff at a Brown Bear car wash off 164th Street SW near Lynnwood.

The pair got high on heroin, parked their PT Cruiser in a stall at the car wash, and approached the man in his driver’s seat around 1 a.m. Aug. 5, 2018. They shocked him with a stun gun through a window, but the man wrestled away the weapon. Then Williams returned to the PT Cruiser, where he whipped out a gun and fired a shot at the car. The paralyzed man’s car crashed into a fence and a building. The robbers fled.

The victim lost the use of his arms and legs. He underwent many surgeries, and he had to learn to breathe again, family wrote in statements to the judge.

Police found the abandoned PT Cruiser about two miles away from the shooting scene, with Naylor’s driver’s license on the floorboard.

Naylor pleaded guilty to lesser charges, and he testified against Williams at the accomplice’s trial. A jury convicted Williams in March of first-degree assault, attempted first-degree robbery with a firearm and unlawful possession of a firearm in the first degree.

After being convicted, Williams made phone calls from jail — recorded and later reviewed by detectives — acknowledging he’d fired the gun that night. He maintained, however, that it was a warning shot, and he did not intend to seriously harm the victim.

“Mr. Williams put a 23 year old (man) in a wheel chair for the rest of his life,” wrote defense attorney Thomas Cox. “As a result of his actions (the man) is paralyzed. Mr. Williams admits he is responsible, and understands that he must be held accountable for the deep pain and tremendous loss he has caused.”

His attorney asked for the lightest possible sentence, about 30 years behind bars, noting that Williams was addicted to drugs, he carried out the robbery to get drugs, and he was high at the time.

Superior Court Judge Janice Ellis gave him 35⅔ years. About half of that time resulted from mandatory sentencing enhancements, because two counts were found to have been committed with a gun.

The victim, the victim’s wife and his mother all wrote letters to the court. They asked for the sternest sentence possible.

“Imagine having a daughter and having to remind yourself every day that you won’t be able to teach … her how to ride a bike, drive, play sports, etc.,” read a letter signed by the victim and his wife. “No one should be able to take someone’s life away from them like this.”

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

Talk to us

> Give us your news tips.

> Send us a letter to the editor.

> More Herald contact information.

More in Local News

Kim Skarda points at her home on a map on Thursday, June 20, 2024 in Concrete, Washington. A community called Sauk River Estates has a very steep slope above it. There is a DNR-approved timber sale that boarders the estate properties, yet they were not consulted about the sale before approval. The community has already appealed the sale and has hired their own geologist to conduct a slope stability report at the site. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Beneath steep slope, Concrete neighbors fear landslides from logging above

Nielsen Brothers plans to cut 54 acres of timber directly behind the community of 83 homes. Locals said they were never consulted.

Law enforcement respond to a person hit by a train near the Port of Everett Mount Baker Terminal on Thursday, June 27, 2024 in Mukilteo, Washington. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
2 killed in waterfront train crashes were near Mukilteo ‘quiet zone’

In June, two people were hit by trains on separate days near Mukilteo Boulevard. “These situations are incredibly tragic,” Everett’s mayor said.

Rob Plotnikoff takes a measurement as a part of the county's State of Our Waters survey at Tambark Creek in Bothell, Washington on Monday, July 1, 2024. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Snohomish County stream team bushwhacks a path to healthier waterways

This summer, the crew of three will survey 40 sites for the State of Our Waters program. It’s science in locals’ backyards.

Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Mountlake Terrace in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
4th suspect arrested after Mountlake Terrace home robbery

Police arrested Taievion Rogers, 19, on Tuesday. Prosecutors charged his three alleged accomplices in April.

A 10 acre parcel off of Highway 99, between 240th and 242nd Street Southwest that the city of Edmonds is currently in the process of acquiring on Monday, July 10, 2023 in Edmonds, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Edmonds ditches $37M Landmark public park project off Highway 99

The previous mayor envisioned parks and more in south Edmonds, in a historically neglected area. The new administration is battling budget woes.

Edmonds school official sworn in as Mount Vernon supe

Victor Vergara took his oath of office last week. He was assistant superintendent of equity and student success in Edmonds.

Miners Complex tops 500 acres in Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest.

Nine lightning-caused fires force trail closures and warnings 21 miles east of Darrington. No homes are threatened.

FILE — President Joe Biden arrives for a Medal of Honor ceremony in the East Room of the White House in Washington, July 3, 2024. Biden abandoned his campaign for a second term under intense pressure from fellow Democrats on Sunday, July 21, upending the race for the White House in a dramatic last-minute bid to find a new candidate who can stop former President Donald Trump from returning to the White House. (Doug Mills/The New York Times)
Biden drops out of race, endorses vice president Kamala Harris

The president announced the decision on social media Sunday.

Granite Falls ‘10-foot alligator’ is actually a tegu named ‘Tazz’

Anybody who spots the docile lizard, last seen near Granite Falls, is asked to notify 911, so Tazz can be reunited with owner.

Photos by Olivia Vanni / The Herald
Gabby Bullock sits on her bed in a room she shares with another housemate on June 14 in Everett.
‘We don’t have openings’: SnoCo recovery houses struggle with demand

Advocates say the homes are critical for addiction recovery. But home prices make starting a sober living house difficult.

Melinda Grenier serves patrons at her coffee truck called Hay Girl Coffee during the third annual Arlington Pride event in Arlington, Washington on Sunday, June 2, 2024. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Food safety team defends its work: it’s a ‘high pressure, thankless’ job

Management tried to set the record straight about long permit delays in Snohomish County.

Providence Regional Medical Center Everett. (Olivia Vanni/The Herald)
Global tech outage leaves a mark on Snohomish County

The CrowdStrike software update hit some systems at Providence Regional Medical Center Everett and briefly disrupted 911 operations.

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.