EVERETT — A former Boeing worker accused of killing a neighbor he had randomly invited to a party in Everett has been charged in Snohomish County Superior Court.
On June 12, Snohomish County prosecutors charged Ryan Anthony Leenders, 35, with first-degree murder and first-degree robbery. They allege that last month, Leenders shot and killed 28-year-old William Thomas Harper III, a man he had never met before
In asking for bail to be maintained at $1 million, prosecutors asked the court to take into consideration “the nature of this senselessly violent offense.”
At an arraignment on June 15, Leenders pleaded not guilty. Defense attorney Pete Mazzone requested the bail be lowered to $100,000, arguing that Leenders had no criminal history and was a lifelong resident of Snohomish County. There was no reason to expect Leenders wouldn’t appear at court hearings, Mazzone wrote.
“He has maintained his innocence with respect to the charges against him, maintains that he acted in self-defense, and is eager to clear his good name in court,” Mazzone wrote.
The court denied that request, but Leenders posted bond of $1 million anyway. He was released on the conditions that he doesn’t possess guns, doesn’t consume alcohol or drugs, doesn’t contact the state’s witnesses and doesn’t commit any crimes.
Until the night of the shooting, Leenders was a machinist and a manager at Boeing. He was featured twice by The Seattle Times in 2016, in profiles about his shifting political views.
On May 24, several neighbors of Leenders called 911 around 10:41 p.m., reporting they heard three to five gunshots and a woman screaming.
Everett officers went to the house at 210 East Beech Street and found a woman “crying hysterically and shouting into the air,” according to charges. “He shot him,” she reportedly yelled. A group of people that had gathered around her directed officers to the house, saying the suspect was still inside.
As police took position outside, Leenders called 911, saying there was a shooting at his house. Officers ordered him out of the house, and asked if anyone had been shot. “I don’t know,” Leenders reportedly said.
“The defendant appeared to the officers to be emotionless, neither appearing distraught or crying,” prosecutors wrote.
In the kitchen, officers found Harper collapsed on the floor and struggling to breathe. They began lifesaving efforts. When Harper stopped breathing, they started CPR. Medics with Everett Fire soon arrived and took over. They declared Harper dead at 11:05 p.m.
A woman who was with Harper said they lived in the neighborhood. They were on their way back from Walgreens when they walked by Leenders’ house, and were invited to his party. While they lived in the same neighborhood, they had never talked to Leenders before, the woman told detectives.
At the party, they drank and talked, and eventually wound up in a hot tub with Leenders. He made unwanted sexual advances toward them.
Uncomfortable, they gathered their things and went to leave. According to charging papers, Leenders stopped them in the kitchen. He pointed a gun at them and demanded their belongings, prosecutors wrote.
According to the woman, Harper put his hands up and moved in front of her, saying “woah man chill.” Leenders allegedly shot three times.
Another couple at the party reported that Leenders also made unwanted sexual advances toward them, and had invited them into the hot tub. They declined. Before Leenders got into the water, they reported seeing him pull out a gun that he had concealed the entire night. He handed it to the wife to “hold on to.” The husband reported that he took the gun and placed it on a chair. Then they left.
Ten minutes later, the husband heard gunshots, then a woman screaming, according to charging papers.
After getting a judge’s permission to search the house, police found two guns on top of a hutch: a Ruger LCP .380 handgun with a laser sight, and a Smith & Wesson five-shot revolver.
A jury trial is scheduled for October.
Zachariah Bryan: 425-339-3431; email@example.com. Twitter: @zachariahtb.
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