Trial continued to Oct. 8 for man charged in Kent murder of Devin Topps

Jorge L. Lizarraga.   - Kent Reporter, file photo
Jorge L. Lizarraga.
— image credit: Kent Reporter, file photo

Jorge L. Lizarraga faces an Oct. 8 trial date for the 2010 second-degree murder of Devin Topps, a former Kentridge High School student athlete.

Lizarraga had been scheduled to go to trial May 1 but that date has been continued, according to the King County Prosecuting Attorney's Office.

Defense attorney Jerry Stimmel requested the continuance in part because, "additional witness interviews needed; (and) defense forensic evaluation incomplete," according to court documents. King County Superior Court Judge Patrick Oishi granted the request.

Court documents also stated that this would be the last continuance unless there is an emergency or attorneys are involved in another trial.

Lizarraga pleaded not guilty to the charge in March 2011. He remains in custody at the county jail in Seattle with bail denied.

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 in 2010 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.

Kent Police 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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