EVERETT — An Everett teenager was sentenced to two years in prison Wednesday for a robbery that was supposed to fund a mass shooting at his high school.
Marquez Daniel, 18, was recruited by classmate Joshua Alexander O’Connor to help carry out the armed heist earlier this year at a convenience store on W. Casino Road, according to charging papers.
Daniel did not know about O’Connor’s alleged “next act,” a plot to use the cash to buy weaponry for a school shooting, his attorney, Derek Conom, said in court. Prosecutors found no evidence to prove Daniel knew of the plot.
Daniel agreed to testify in court about his classmate if O’Connor’s case goes to trial. And if Daniel breaks the agreement, he would face more prison time.
The teens were students at ACES, an alternative high school in the Mukilteo School District. Peers had noticed O’Connor and Daniel were spending more time together in the months before the robbery, according to charging papers. Some of O’Connor’s friends were wary of Daniel, because he bragged about having guns and gang ties.
On the night of Feb. 12, a gunman in a green-and-black jacket burst into a convenience store on Casino. Police believe this was O’Connor. He wore a Kim Jong-un mask and aimed a rifle at the clerk, charging papers say. An accomplice, Daniel, wore a Donald Trump mask. He took cash from the register. They drove off in a sedan, less than a minute after they’d arrived. According to court papers, O’Connor, 18, went home to write in his spiral notebook: “I just (expletive) robbed an AM/PM gas station at gun point!”
The next morning his grandmother, 68, called police to report she’d found the journal, two inert grenades and a Hi-Point carbine 9 mm rifle hidden in his room.
The journal contained a will, a minute-by-minute account of the 1999 shooting at Columbine High School and disturbing entries about his copycat plot to “make this shooting / bombing … infamous.”
O’Connor’s journal revealed plans to buy a shotgun and bomb-making materials with money from the robbery.
Daniel had gotten away with $100.
Police arrested O’Connor at school Feb. 13. Rubber masks of Kim Jong-un and Donald Trump allegedly were found in a shoebox in his room, along with a distinctive green-and-black jacket.
O’Connor is awaiting trial on charges of attempted first-degree murder, first-degree robbery and possession of an illegal explosive device. His next court hearing is Sept. 6.
O’Connor later was accused of hatching a new school shooting plot for Kamiak High School, from behind bars. A cellmate divulged the plot to an attorney.
Another inmate, 29, confronted the cellmate in a jailhouse stairway May 2. According to charging papers, the inmate asked if he was going to testify against O’Connor, then beat him for 57 seconds, while O’Connor watched.
The cellmate suffered a broken nose and bleeding in the brain. The alleged attacker, Travis Hammons, has been charged with first-degree assault.
Daniel pleaded guilty last week to one count of first-degree robbery. He asked to be sentenced quickly after his plea, because of safety concerns in the county jail. Attorneys agreed to a plea deal that’s less than the standard sentence for first-degree robbery, citing his age, his role in the heist and his agreement to work with prosecutors.
Daniel would have graduated from high school in June. He hopes to earn a GED in prison. He had two misdemeanors from 2017. A felony theft case was deferred in 2018.
The case has “thrust him into adulthood quite abruptly,” his defense attorney said. When it was Daniel’s turn to speak, Judge Eric Lucas turned to the defendant.
“Your attorney said that you were remorseful and that you learned a lot,” Lucas said. “So my question for you is what did you learn?”
Daniel replied in a voice almost too quiet to be heard.
“That you can’t just take anything that you want,” he said. “You have to work for it.”
Caleb Hutton: 425-339-3454; firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @snocaleb.