EVERETT — On the witness stand, Jerradon Phelps said he did it for two reasons: money and “street cred.”
The Tacoma man shot and killed Alisha Canales-McGuire, 24, of Everett, according to court papers.
Phelps, who has already pleaded guilty to first-degree murder, testified for days in the murder-for-hire trial of Kevin Lewis, 34, of Lynnwood. The state continued questioning witnesses Tuesday in the aggravated murder trial that is in its fifth week in Snohomish County Superior Court.
Prosecutors believe Lewis hired Phelps to kill his ex-wife, but her sister, Canales-McGuire, happened to be babysitting at a home on York Road that night in 2017.
Phelps testified that Lewis paid him $2,400.
Lewis’ defense attorney, Michele Shaw, asked Phelps how he spent the money.
A pair of Timberland boots, he said. A Ferragamo belt buckle. Tattoos. Name-brand athletic sweat pants. Things that he couldn’t normally afford, Phelps told the courtroom.
At the time, he was 19.
Deputy prosecutor Martha Saracino spent 1½ days questioning Phelps.
“I kind of wanted to do it so I could say that I’d done it before,” Phelps testified.
In 2017, Phelps received a Snapchat message from Lewis, his cousin, according to charging papers. Lewis offered him cash to get somebody “out of the way.”
The shooter only knew the address he was supposed to target, not the name of the woman he was supposed to kill, Phelps said on the stand.
Phelps accepted, and he got his friend, Alexis Hale, to help, he testified. The pair needed a gun. Hale, who was 17, got a black pistol from her sister, according to Phelps.
The pair drove from Spokane to Everett on Sept. 20, 2017. On the way, as they stopped to fill up Phelps’ silver sedan, he test-fired the gun outside, he said. He described the pistol as “janky.” Phelps handed the weapon back to Hale, who held onto it in the car, he told the court. They got back on the road.
Phelps pulled up to Lewis’ home, he testified. Lewis, in a white tank top, got in the car to direct Phelps and Hale to a home where Lewis’ ex-wife lived. They hardly spoke in the car, Phelps testified. Lewis directed them to a home in the 3100 block of York Road south of Everett. Lewis never said who lived there, Phelps told the courtroom.
The trio turned around and went back to Lewis’ house. On the way, Lewis handed Phelps an envelope: It was filled with 24 bills, each $100, Phelps testified.
They dropped Lewis off at his home, then circled back, according to the shooter’s testimony. Court papers say he and Hale arrived again at the would-be victim’s house around 1:55 a.m.
Phelps, wearing black leather gloves, knocked on the front door. Canales-McGuire answered. Phelps opened fire, he told the courtroom. He shot her five times, then walked back to his car.
He dropped a glove, he testified, so he went back to look for it. But he couldn’t find it.
Phelps and Hale drove back to Spokane.
In the days that followed, Phelps asked Lewis to return to the house to find the missing glove, he testified. According to the shooter, Lewis refused.
Under questioning, Phelps said he was not proud of what he did.
“I just try to forget it and move on,” he told the court. “When I think about what I did, it makes me feel like I don’t belong, don’t deserve to be successful.”
Lewis’ ex-wife had been on a business trip in New York City in September 2017. Her sister, Canales-McGuire, was staying at her house, caring for her three children.
Investigators’ leads went cold until the summer of 2018, when Hale told two people at a party that she killed somebody on York Road, according to charging papers. The two people tipped off detectives at the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office.
Phelps and Hale were arrested for investigation of first-degree aggravated murder and criminal conspiracy to commit first-degree murder.
Last year, Phelps pleaded guilty to first-degree murder with a firearm. His sentencing is scheduled for December. Hale pleaded guilty to the same crime last year. She was sentenced to 15 years behind bars.
Lewis was charged with murder in 2019. At the time, he was serving jail time for felony assaults on his ex-wife.
Under state law, Lewis faces only one possible sentence if convicted: life in prison.
Prosecutors expect to rest their case this week in Superior Court Judge Paul Thompson’s courtroom.
Ellen Dennis: 425-339-3486; firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @reporterellen.
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