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Man pleads not guilty to June murder of Kent woman

A 20-year-old Burien man pleaded not guilty Monday to a first-degree murder charge for the beating death in June of a Kent woman during a home invasion robbery at her apartment.

Michael Vincent Galloway entered the plea in King County Superior Court in Kent, according to the King County Prosecuting Attorney's Office. He remains in the county jail at the Maleng Regional Justice Center with bail set at $1 million. He is scheduled to return to court Dec. 9 when a trial date could be set or attorneys could ask for more time to prepare the case.

Galloway and two other men allegedly forced their way into the woman's apartment in an attempt to rob the victim of money and prescription pills. The two other men have yet to be tracked down by Kent Police. The investigation remains open.

Kent Police arrested Galloway on Oct. 19 for investigation of first-degree murder more than four months after the June 3 death of Latasha Walker, 24. Police responded to a 911 call from a neighbor at about 8:16 p.m. June 3 and found Walker unconscious on her bedroom floor at the Somerset Apartments, 25216 110th Ave. S.E. Paramedics transported Walker to the Valley Medical Center in Renton where she was declared dead, according to charging papers filed Oct. 23.

A female friend of Walker who was with her that night told police that three men forced their way into the apartment. The friend said that Walker sold drugs from the apartment and had prescription pills and money in her bedroom.

One of the men, according to the friend, yelled at Walker, "Bitch, where's the money?" and added "Bitch, you're not going anywhere!"

One man forced Walker's friend onto a couch and put a pillow over her head. Periodically, he punched her. She heard Walker screaming from the bedroom.

The three men left at the same time. After they left, the friend found Walker on the floor, in a fetal position, unconscious, with a belt around her neck, according to charging papers. Walker was unresponsive.

The friend couldn't find her cellphone so she ran outside the apartment and screamed for help. Two women responded to the apartment, one called 911 and the other one performed CPR on Walker until paramedics arrived.

An autopsy by the King County Medical Examiner's Office later determined Walker died from numerous liver lacerations and large amounts of blood in her chest cavity, consistent with some type of blunt force trauma.

Police investigators found fingerprints of Galloway inside the apartment on a dresser in Walker's bedroom. Walker's friend said drugs and cash were kept in the dresser, but no drugs or cash were found by police as the three men reportedly stole the items.

The men also allegedly took Walker's cellphone. Detectives learned in July the phone had been reactivated. The investigation into the phone use eventually led them to Galloway.

Detectives interviewed Galloway Oct. 16 at the South Correctional Entity (SCORE jail) in Des Moines, where Galloway had been booked on an unrelated warrant.

Galloway admitted to detectives that he and two other men traveled in June to Kent to rob Walker. He said one of the other men told them Walker had large sums of cash and pills at her apartment and that her man was in jail.

When the men went to the apartment, Galloway knocked on the door and asked to use a phone. As a woman started to open the door, the men forced their way inside.

Galloway said the other men wrestled, punched and choked Walker as he looked for the money and drugs. Galloway said he didn't find cash or drugs but he stole Xbox games, a laptop and cellphones.

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