Suspect to claim self-defense

Jason Lee Harrison was afraid for his safety the night of June 25, 2002, when he shot into a darkened car and killed the man in the driver’s seat, a lawyer said Tuesday.

“He shot into the car to give these guys a warning: Please leave us alone,” public defender Neal Friedman told a Snohomish County Superior Court jury. Harrison didn’t know the car was occupied, Friedman said.

Deputy prosecutor Paul Stern alleged that Harrison intended to kill Michael Lipke, 27, of Everett. Lipke was sitting in the car when Harrison fired several shots through the windshield.

Harrison, 23, and two companions had been at a bar near Everett Mall when two men who had been thrown out of the bar confronted him over the way his car was parked, Stern said. There was an argument, and Harrison and his friends were followed to a nearby convenience store.

From there, Harrison and his friends went to a nearby Fulton Crossing apartment complex where Harrrison lived, and they were confronted once again, Stern said.

Harrison and one of his companions got into a fight with the two men. The woman who was with them ran to the apartment, Stern said. Harrison ran away from the fight and returned a few minutes later with a pistol and shot into the car.

Lipke was flown to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, where he died a few days later.

Friedman told jurors the three were confronted “by these two thugs” three times. He said it was apparent Lipke and his friend wanted to fight.

“He had no idea what these guys were up to, and that’s when he decided to get his gun,” Friedman told jurors.

He said it was dark out and the tinted windows of Lipke’s vehicle helped obscure the victim.

“He shot into the windows of the car. He was scared. He was not the same guy sitting here today,” Friedman said, adding that he also was trying to protect his companions.

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