EVERETT — Simeon Berkley, who allegedly shot a man twice in the head during an apparent road rage dispute, is back behind bars according to records from the Snohomish County Jail.
Berkley, 74, is charged with second-degree murder for the July 6 killing of Steven Whitemarsh. According to charging papers, Berkley slammed on his brakes to intentionally cause Whitemarsh to rear-end him. Berkley then got out of his car, walked up to the other car, and shot Whitemarsh through an open window, prosecutors allege.
Witnesses reportedly said Berkley lingered at the scene, and that he appeared “excessively calm and emotionless.”
Berkley made a brief statement to an officer.
“I’ll make your job easy, it was self defense,” he reportedly said. “He was chasing me.”
At an arraignment on Aug. 14, Berkley pleaded not guilty.
Five days later, Berkley reportedly turned himself in to the Snohomish County Jail.
He apparently didn’t meet new bail provisions required by the Superior Court.
He previously had posted $750,000 bond in July, while his case was still in Everett District Court.
Berkley could face up to 23 years in prison according to state guidelines.
In 1991, he shot and paralyzed a man after a near-crash on a freeway in San Diego County, according to a story in the Los Angeles Times. Berkley claimed self-defense in that case, too. A jury acquitted him of attempted murder, but provided a warning.
“You keep that gun out of your car,” an unidentified juror told him, according to the Times story. “We didn’t feel that what you did was right at all, but we had to follow the law.”
Whitemarsh was described as a well-liked manager at a Safeway in Everett and the father of three kids.
“You were his friend the second you met him and he always had a smile on his face,” his family wrote in a statement.
Zachariah Bryan: 425-339-3431; firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @zachariahtb.
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