EVERETT — An Everett man was sentenced Monday to over 14 years in prison for fatally shooting someone he said was his friend.
Less than two weeks after Shane Bryant’s death this past February, prosecutors charged Stefan Deremer, 33, with second-degree murder. In May, he pleaded guilty to a lesser charge, first-degree manslaughter.
Under state sentencing guidelines, the defendant faced between 14¼ and 17¼ years for the crime committed with a firearm. Prosecutors argued for the low end of that range.
Deremer’s public defender Cassie Trueblood pushed for a 10-year sentence.
She argued the crime was a result of Deremer’s longstanding issues with substance abuse without effective treatment despite several stays in local facilities. In February, a psychologist found he began using alcohol at 14 and methamphetamine by the time he was 16.
In court documents, Trueblood wrote that Deremer’s first choice after shooting Bryant was trying to overdose on Xanax.
Snohomish County Superior Court Judge Anna Alexander sided with the prosecution, sentencing Deremer to 14¼ years. As she announced the sentence, family and friends held up funeral programs for Bryant with his picture on the front.
On the morning of Feb. 1, Deremer, Bryant and Bryant’s longtime girlfriend, Chantelle Bissell, were drinking together at the defendant’s apartment in the 10700 block of Evergeeen Way. Bissell told police Deremer had also taken Xanax and “blues” — slang for fentanyl pills.
Just before 9:30 a.m., an argument broke out between Deremer and Bryant. It wasn’t a physical altercation and the argument wasn’t too heated, Bissell reported.
But suddenly Deremer pulled out a gun and shot Bryant in the head as the victim sat on the couch, according to court documents. Deremer got up and put his arms around Bissell. He told her he was sorry. He didn’t know the gun was loaded. He urged her not to call the police.
But she ran out of the apartment and called 911. Meanwhile, Deremer moved Bryant from the couch to the floor and held him. That’s how officers found him.
Four days later, Bryant died of the gunshot wound. He was 31.
Deremer, of Everett, had two prior felony convictions as an adult from 2016, for residential burglary and taking a motor vehicle without permission. He was sentenced to 13 months for those crimes in Snohomish County.
In court Monday, Bryant’s family and friends pleaded with Judge Alexander to sentence Deremer to a hefty sentence. Through tears, Bryant’s mother Joanny Spaulding said: “I feel like I’ve been sentenced to a life without my child.”
Spaulding said her daughter died unexpectedly just weeks after Bryant, compounding her grief. She has withdrawn from life after their deaths.
“I look out my window and my brain can tell the sun is shining, but my heart can’t feel that,” she wrote in a statement. “I didn’t realize how a person could suffer.”
She sees her son throughout her home, in the chicken coop he built after taking out the blackberries, in the front door where he’d give her a hug and tell her he loved her before leaving. Spaulding said Bryant had a bigger heart than anyone she’d met. He got joy from making other people happy.
Bissell said she and Bryant were “inseparable” for over a decade.
“My whole life was taken from me when Shane was taken,” she told the judge.
In a letter, Deremer wrote that he loved Bryant.
“I will pay for my mistakes for the rest of my life.”