Charges: Argument over a wheelbarrow led to machete murder

Mark Abrahamson Jr., 31, of Arlington Heights, killed roommate Scotty Sass, 51, according to new charges.

ARLINGTON — An Arlington-area man who claimed self-defense after he attacked his roommate with a machete last month has been charged with second-degree murder.

In charging papers filed in Snohomish County Superior Court, prosecutors allege Mark Abrahamson Jr., 31, killed Scotty Sass, 51, in their yard during a disagreement over a wheelbarrow.

On the evening of June 16, Abrahamson was with his girlfriend inside their home around 7 p.m. when they heard Sass yelling in the yard.

They walked outside where Sass was spreading gravel with a shovel, rakes and a handcart, according to charging papers. The roommate reportedly was angry he had to use the cart because his wheelbarrow was missing.

Sass blamed the couple for the missing wheelbarrow. The two men argued and walked toward each other.

Abrahamson was wielding a machete he had reportedly sharpened earlier in the day. The girlfriend stepped between the two men to try to defuse the situation. Sass swore and pushed her out of the way, according to charging papers.

The boyfriend swung the blade and struck Sass’ neck, according to the charges. The girlfriend took the machete, threw it to the ground, then told Abrahamson to call 911. She ran into the house to get towels to treat the roommate’s wound, she reported.

The boyfriend called 911 saying he had used a machete in the fight with Sass, who was injured, according to court documents. He then hung up.

A 911 dispatcher called him back. Abrahamson told the dispatcher that he would not run away. He tried to explain his actions, saying he acted out of self-defense.

A neighbor called 911, too, saying the suspect was running north on 127th Avenue NE in Arlington Heights, according to the charges.

Sheriff’s deputies drove to the crime scene. On their way, they saw Abrahamson, shirtless, sitting on the ground at 127th and 208th Street NE. Blood was on his hands and shoes. He reported he had “ruined everybody’s life,” then went on to say that he had “no choice,” according to the charges. He told deputies Sass strangled his girlfriend and attacked the couple with a shovel.

At the home, deputies found Sass’ body in his gravel driveway. The Snohomish County Medical Examiner’s Office examined his body and confirmed the cause of his cause of death was a chop wound.

A neighbor reported he had been mowing his lawn when Abrahamson ran toward him and told him he had to defend himself.

In an interview, the girlfriend told a deputy that Sass grabbed her shirt, shook her and pushed her out of the way when she tried to intervene. She reported she was never strangled or attacked with a shovel.

Abrahamson claimed he, his girlfriend and Sass had smoked methamphetamine earlier that day, according to the charges. The three roommates had lived together for four months.

The suspect had no previous felony convictions, according to charging papers. In 2012, he was convicted in Grant County of domestic violence assault in the fourth degree, a misdemeanor.

Abrahamson was booked into the Snohomish County Jail on June 17. Everett District Court Judge Tam Bui set bail at $750,000. Bui also imposed a no-contact order prohibiting any communication between Abrahamson and his girlfriend.

In a request to increase the bail amount, deputy prosecutor Matt Hunter noted Abrahamson violated the no-contact order with his girlfriend, “a critical witness,” by talking to her through video calls, phone calls and text messages.

On Monday at an arraignment hearing, Snohomish County Superior Court Judge Cassandra Lopez-Shaw increased Abrahamson’s bail to $2 million. He remained behind bars Friday.

Ellen Dennis: 425-339-3486; edennis@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @reporterellen

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