Startup man charged with premeditated murder of grandmother’s friend

Tristan Trinh had been arrested for investigation of second-degree murder in Roy Ashmore’s death this month. Ashmore was 39.

Roy Ashmore (Family photo)

Roy Ashmore (Family photo)

STARTUP — The day before he allegedly killed a Sultan man this month, Tristan Trinh’s grandmother wanted police to have him committed for mental health treatment.

On the night of Aug. 5, the grandmother called 911 to report Trinh’s “problematic behavior,” according to charges filed Friday in Snohomish County Superior Court. Trinh had reportedly knocked on her door and exposed himself. The grandmother, 69, resided at a house in the 36700 block of U.S. 2 in Startup. Trinh, 23, lived in a cabin on the property.

Since the grandmother reportedly didn’t describe any immediate safety concerns, Snohomish County sheriff’s deputies found the situation didn’t merit involuntary commitment. They explained how she could get a civil protection order online. Trinh and the grandmother said they would go to bed and stay away from each other.

No more 911 calls came in from that address for the rest of the night, according to court documents.

But on the morning of Aug. 6, Trinh again exposed himself to his grandmother, the charges say. So around 8 a.m., she began filling out a protection order. To help her leave, she called Roy Ashmore, a close friend who had helped her with construction projects. He was going to let her stay at his house.

Around 11 a.m. that morning, Ashmore arrived, according to court papers. He and his young son tried to enter the door to the Haystack Company antique store, which the grandmother owned. Trinh blocked their entrance. A struggle ensued at the doorway.

“Where’s your grandma?” Ashmore reportedly yelled multiple times.

Eventually, Ashmore was able to get inside the antique store. He and Trinh fought, according to court documents. Ashmore repeatedly told Trinh to stop frightening the grandmother. He also told Trinh to leave the property. Ashmore tried to restrain Trinh, but the defendant repeatedly hit him in the head.

Ashmore reportedly asked if Trinh was going to “start being nice.”

“Yeah, yeah, yeah,” Trinh responded, according to court papers.

At that point, the fight stopped. Ashmore hugged the grandmother and told her how sorry he was that she going through this, according to the charges. He said Trinh wouldn’t terrorize her anymore.

Ashmore, his son, the grandmother and another witness moved to the parking lot to discuss what to do next. Meanwhile, Trinh reportedly stood near a dumpster more than 25 feet away. Ashmore wanted to talk to Trinh to get him to leave.

Ashmore approached Trinh, the grandmother reported. Despite Ashmore staying more than 10 feet away, Trinh accused Ashmore of attacking him.

Surveillance video reportedly shows Trinh pulling a .22-caliber Magnum pistol out of his pocket and pointing at Ashmore. A few seconds later, Trinh looks over his shoulder. Ashmore turns around and walks away. Trinh takes a step forward and fires multiple times.

Ashmore’s son was watching, according to the charges.

The son told investigators his father looked at him after being shot, then fell to the ground, court documents say.

Trinh lowered his gun and moved toward Ashmore. At point blank, Trinh shot Ashmore again, prosecutors allege. The Snohomish County Medical Examiner’s Office found Ashmore was shot in the body several times and once in the back of the head. The victim was 39.

Trinh fled, but a witness caught him. The suspect told the witness, “I respect you.” They walked back to the store together to wait for police, according to court papers. The suspect then dropped the pistol in the grass, but wouldn’t move away from it.

Trinh later told police he “had to kill him.” Deputies arrested Trinh for investigation of second-degree murder. But in a report, a detective opined the killing could merit first-degree premeditated murder.

Prosecutors agreed, charging Trinh last week with first-degree murder.

On Tuesday, he remained in the Snohomish County Jail with bail set at $1 million. Court records show he has no criminal history.

Jake Goldstein-Street: 425-339-3439;; Twitter: @GoldsteinStreet.

Talk to us

More in Local News

Marysville firefighters respond to a 12-year-old boy who fell down a well Tuesday May 30, 2023 in Marysville, Washington. (Photo provided by Marysville Fire District)
Marysville firefighters save boy who fell 20 feet into well

The 12-year-old child held himself up by grabbing on to a plastic pipe while firefighters worked to save him.

Highway 9 is set to be closed in both directions for a week as construction crews build a roundabout at the intersection with Vernon Road. (Washington State Department of Transportation)
Weeklong closure coming to Highway 9 section in Lake Stevens

Travelers should expect delays or find another way from Friday to Thursday between Highway 204 and Lundeen Parkway.

Students arriving off the bus get in line to score some waffles during a free pancake and waffle breakfast at Lowell Elementary School on Friday, May 26, 2023, in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
800 free pancakes at Everett’s Lowell Elementary feed the masses

The annual breakfast was started to connect the community and the school, as well as to get people to interact.

Marysville Mayor Jon Nehring speaks at the groundbreaking event for the I-5/SR 529 Interchange project on Tuesday, May 23, 2023 in Marysville, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
$123M project starting on Highway 529 interchange, I-5 HOV lane

A reader wondered why the highway had a lane closure despite not seeing work done. Crews were waiting on the weather.

Justin Bell was convicted earlier this month of first-degree assault for a December 2017 shooting outside a Value Village in Everett. (Caleb Hutton / Herald file)
Court: Snohomish County jurors’ opaque masks didn’t taint verdict

During the pandemic, Justin Bell, 32, went on trial for a shooting. Bell claims his right to an impartial jury was violated.

Gary Fontes uprights a tree that fell over in front of The Fontes Manor — a miniature handmade bed and breakfast — on Friday, May 12, 2023, at his home near Silver Lake in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Everett’s mini-Frank Lloyd Wright builds neighborhood of extra tiny homes

A tiny lighthouse, a spooky mansion and more: Gary Fontes’ miniature world of architectural wonders is one-twelfth the size of real life.

Will Steffener
Inslee appoints Steffener as Superior Court judge

Attorney Will Steffener will replace Snohomish County Superior Court Judge Janice Ellis, who is retiring in June.

The M/V Puyallup docks at the Edmonds waterfront on Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2020 in Edmonds. The ferry along with the passenger loading walkway were struck by lightning last week. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Tune in for virtual meeting on Edmonds-Kingston ferry

The series of Washington State Ferries meetings are for updates and public comment. A recording is available online.

Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Mountlake Terrace in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
Lawsuit: Defective inhaler led to death of Mountlake Terrace man

Pharmaceutical company Perrigo recalled inhalers in September 2020. Months earlier, Antonio Fritz Sr. picked one up at a pharmacy.

Most Read