Auburn teen faces murder charge in Kent East Hill drug deal gone bad

Payton Mattson, 20, dies of multiple gunshot wounds.

An 18-year-old Auburn man faces a first-degree murder charge after he allegedly fatally shot a 20-year-old man while robbing him of cash during a marijuana deal on Kent’s East Hill.

Hector Galeano Jr. is charged with shooting Payton Mattson early Sunday morning in the 13100 block of Southeast 261st Place, according to charging papers. Galeano remains in the King County jail at the Maleng Regional Justice Center in Kent with bail denied, after an initial setting at $2 million. He is scheduled to be arraigned at 9 a.m. on Dec. 11 at the RJC.

Because of Galeano’s criminal history, which includes a guilty plea at age 17 to second-degree assault for firing almost a dozen bullets on Dec. 30, 2016, into an occupied mobile home at the Cascade Mobile Villa in Kent, he faces a potential sentence of 31 to 39 years in prison, according to charging documents. He was released less than 12 weeks ago from the Green Hill School in Chehalis, a Juvenile Rehabilitation facility that serves the state’s highest-risk youth, after serving his sentence in the assault case where he targeted a Kent teen.

Senior Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Scott M. O’Toole requested to a King County Superior Court judge that Galeano be held without bail.

“The defendant poses a substantial likelihood of danger,” O’Toole wrote in the charging papers. “The defendant’s actions – setting up a drug transaction, robbing at gunpoint the person who was selling the drugs and then shooting that person to death on a city street – demonstrates the danger he poses. Neither the weapon used by the defendant nor the money stolen by him have been recovered.”

Mattson died of multiple gunshot wounds, according to the King County Medical Examiner’s Office.

The start of the drug deal apparently began just before midnight Nov. 25, when a 17-year-old boy, a Kentwood High School senior, asked a friend to set up a meeting where he would pay $500 for a quarter-pound of marijuana. The friend contacted Mattson, known to sell marijuana, to arrange the deal, according to court documents.

The 17-year-old boy brought Galeano along to help make the deal. Galeano got into a car with Mattson and another boy. Mattson began to measure out the marijuana. Mattson also showed the other teens a bag he had in the car with thousands of dollars inside. Galeano asked if he could take photos of the cash, which he did.

A bit later, Galeano reportedly grabbed the cash, pointed a gun at Mattson and fled the vehicle. Mattson exited the car and chased Galeano. The teen who remained in Mattson’s car told detectives he heard at least four shots and saw Galeano shoot Mattson. Galeano then fled in a 2013 black Mercedes Benz driven by the Kentwood teen, using a car owned by his father.

Investigators found seven spent 9mm cartridge cases lying in and around the area where the Mercedes had been parked. Officers also found an empty 40 ounce bottle of Olde English 800 malt liquor on the ground near the cases. Several $20 bills were scattered on the ground near Mattson’s body.

A detective found on Galeano’s Snapchat profile two images posted about one hour before Mattson’s killing. Each photo depicted a male holding a plastic 40 ounce bottle of Olde English 800 malt liquor inside a car with the word Kent superimposed on each photo. The male holding the bottle appeared to be Galeano, who later deleted his Snapchat profile.

Kent detectives and Valley SWAT served a search warrant Nov. 26 on Galeano’s home in the 13300 block of Southeast 290th Street in Auburn but no one was found inside. SWAT negotiators contacted Galeano by phone and he reportedly denied killing anyone and said the police just want to put him away for life.

The father of Galeano helped convince his son to turn himself in. Galeano surrendered Nov. 26 to Kent Police at the Kent Police Station and invoked his right to speak with his attorney.

The Kentwood teen, who reportedly drove the car from the crime scene, told police he was sleeping at Galeano’s home during the time of the shooting. Police arrested the teen for investigation of first-degree murder. He has not yet been charged.

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