Man charged in Kent murder of Devin Topps faces May 1 trial

Devin Topps, pictured here in 2009, was shot and killed in 2010. Jorge L. Lizarraga faces a May 1 trial date for the murder of Topps. - Kent Reporter, file photo
Devin Topps, pictured here in 2009, was shot and killed in 2010. Jorge L. Lizarraga faces a May 1 trial date for the murder of Topps.
— image credit: Kent Reporter, file photo

A trial date has been continued to May 1 for a 22-year-old man charged with second-degree murder with a firearm enhancement in connection with the 2010 shooting death of Devin Topps, a former Kentridge High School student-athlete, at a Halloween party.

Jorge L. Lizarraga had been scheduled to go to trial Tuesday, according to the King County Prosecuting Attorney's Office. He remains in custody in the county jail at the Norm Maleng Regional Justice Center in Kent. He pleaded not guilty to the charge in March 2011.

Topps, who played basketball and football at Kentridge, had signed a letter of intent to play football in 2010 for Eastern Washington University, but because of grades did not enroll in the school.

According to court documents, Topps left a Halloween party at about 2 a.m. at a home in the 20200 block of 92nd Avenue South in northeast Kent. Topps walked out with other partygoers and encountered a group of males standing in the street outside the home.

Witnesses told detectives that Topps got into a fight with another man after a verbal altercation. Lizarraga saw the fight and allegedly pulled out a gun, fired three shots into the air and then walked toward Topps and shot him once in the back as Topps fought with another man on the ground.

Topps died at the scene from a gunshot wound to the back.

Detectives interviewed numerous witnesses from the party in an effort to find the shooter. They received a tip in December 2010 that Lizarraga was staying at the King's Arms Motel, 23226 30th Ave. S., in Des Moines and allegedly had a handgun that he kept in the room, according to charging papers.

When detectives searched the motel room where Lizarraga had stayed for about three weeks with a girlfriend, they found a Heckler & Koch .40-caliber handgun as well as ammunition for the gun. The gun had been stolen just four days before the shooting during a residential burglary in Federal Way. Fingerprints from that burglary matched Lizarraga.

State Patrol Crime Lab investigators determined that the nine casings recovered from the murder scene had been fired from the stolen gun found in Lizarraga's motel room.

Police tracked down and arrested Lizarraga in December 2010 at a SeaTac 7-Eleven store at South 194th Street and International Boulevard. When detectives tried to interview Lizarraga about the murder, he invoked his right to an attorney and did not speak with them.

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