After a trial of nearly two months, a 12-member King County Superior Court jury began deliberations Tuesday afternoon to determine whether Marty Kime is guilty of killing 1-year-old Malijah Grant in Kent as part of a gang retaliation shooting.
Malijah was fatally shot during a drive-by shooting while riding in a car seat in the backseat of her parents vehicle late in the afternoon of April 16, 2015, near Reith Road and Lake Fenwick Road.
As of Wednesday, the jury had not delivered a verdict.
Senior Deputy Prosecutor Adrienne McCoy tried to convince the jury that Kime is guilty of second-degree murder. McCoy claimed that Kime and an accomplice fired shots at Martrice Grant-Walker, the father of Malijah, to avenge a March 2015 gang killing in Seattle. Kime, who remains in custody, is a Low Provile gang member while Grant-Walker is part of the rival Deuce 8 gang, both in Seattle.
“Marty Kime didn’t intend to kill Malijah,” McCoy said during her closing arguments of nearly 90 minutes on Monday at the Maleng Regional Justice Center in Kent. “But he and his accomplice meant to commit a drive-by shooting. They meant to shoot Martrice when he was with his family. They broke the rule that you don’t shoot when someone’s with his family, you give them a pass when they’re with their family.”
Defense attorneys Lisa Mulligan and Todd Maybrown argued that two other gang members in a different car were responsible for the killing of baby Malijah.
“Hopefully, after this trial, they (detectives) can redirect and refocus their efforts so that someday the real killers can sit in a courtroom like this and justice can be served,” Mulligan said during her 84-minute closing. “Convicting the wrong person and letting the real killers go free is not justice for Malijah Grant – it would just be another tragedy. Marty Kime is the wrong person.”
In addition to second-degree murder, prosecutors charged Kime with two counts of first-degree assault for firing shots at Grant-Walker and Lisa Lynch, the mother of Malijah, who drove her car the day of the fatal shooting. Grant-Walker and Lynch each ducked during the shooting and were not injured. Their baby suffered a gunshot wound to the head and died two days later at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.
If convicted as charged, Kime, 27, could face a sentence range of 41-54 years in prison, according to the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office. Kime, whose hometown listings include Seattle and Auburn, pleaded not guilty to the charges in January 2016. He didn’t speak to detectives about the shooting after his arrest and he didn’t take the stand during his trial, which began Sept. 10.
Highly secured courtroom
Because of the shooting between rival gangs, the trial occurred in a highly secured courtroom. Four King County corrections officers were positioned in court, two behind Kime as he sat next to his attorneys and one at each exit. Anyone who attended the trial had to go through an additional metal detector outside the courtroom and give up their cellphones before entering. All who entered the Maleng Regional Justice Center already had gone through one metal detector.
During closing arguments by the state on Monday, nearly 20 relatives and friends of Malijah’s family were in court, including her father and mother. During Kime’s arraignment in 2016, certain friends and family members shouted out comments such as, “Piece of garbage,” “Don’t look down now,” “He shot my granddaughter,” “You’ve got your day coming,” and “Justice for Malijah.”
No similar outbursts happened during the trial, although the court went into a brief recess on Monday when several members of the family loudly sobbed as McCoy pulled Malijah’s car seat out of an exhibit box to show the jury. After the jury left, Judge Johanna Bender told the family they needed to stay silent during court proceedings.
“A number of people were very visibly upset and bawling out loud, which is very consistent with grief and stress but can’t happen in the courtroom,” Bender said. “This is a place of quiet, which is mandatory. You are welcome to stay as long as you can be quiet.”
Who, what to believe?
Jurors heard from numerous witnesses over eight weeks – from Kime’s girlfriend who let him borrow her car the day of the shooting to gun experts to people near the shooting and gang members in jail who heard or knew things. They also were shown many photos, videos and cellphone records related to the case.
Kent Police never found the gun used in the shooting. But an eight-month investigation after the shooting involved 46 search warrants, the review of approximately 71,000 social media pages (Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat), a detective’s narrative of more than 1,000 pages, 213 witness interviews and more than 110,000 phone call record reviews. That’s the information that led police to arrest Kime.
McCoy told the jury that Kime wanted to avenge the killing of close friend and fellow gang member John Williams, fatally shot in March 2015 in Seattle. Prosecutors said another man was in the car with Kime during the Kent shooting, although that man has not been identified. McCoy said it doesn’t matter whether or not Kime fired the gun.
“The accomplice must know that what they are doing is facilitating the crime,” she said. “For felony murder, the defendant had to know that his actions of driving a car, providing the gun, following Martrice, maybe firing the gun – we don’t know – were all toward accomplishing the crime of drive-by shooting.”
Two shots were fired at the car from a short distance. After Lynch pulled over, six more shots were fired, including the one that hit Malijah. The car then fled the scene.
Mulligan, the defense attorney, told the jury that Kime had no motive to kill Grant-Walker, despite two earlier gang shootings.
“Why go after Mr. Grant-Walker who had nothing to do with either event,” Mulligan said. “There is zero evidence that Mr. Kime knew Grant-Walker. That’s an assumption that they (prosecutors) are asking you to make.”
Mulligan said Grant-Walker wasn’t an active gang member out in the streets and that he knew older Deuce 8 gang members not the younger group. She said Kime would have no idea that Grant-Walker was a gang member.
McCoy said video surveillance from homes and businesses, cellphone records and social media sites used by Kime show that he and another man followed Lynch’s car starting in Renton and then to the Safeway in Kent, down West Meeker Street and up Reith Road to Lake Fenwick Road. Detectives matched shell casings found at the shooting scene near the intersection of Lake Fenwick Road and Reith Road to a gun that Kime posed with in a cellphone photo.
Lynch, the mother of Malijah, drove her car with Grant-Walker in the passenger seat. They had picked up Malijah at her babysitter’s home and stopped at the Safeway in the Kent Valley before heading home.
Shots from which car?
Attorneys gave the jury conflicting information about the make and model of the car used in the shooting.
Detectives claimed Kime was in a dark blue 2014 Chevrolet Cruze that he had borrowed from a girlfriend earlier in the day before the shooting. Police impounded the vehicle after seeking tips from the public. The mother of Kime’s girlfriend, who loaned him the car, called police to report she recognized the suspect vehicle photo released by police as connected to the shooting.
The girlfriend testified that Kime borrowed her Cruze the day of the shooting around 2 p.m. and returned it about 6 p.m. She said it had been wiped down and vacuumed.
Detectives looked at video surveillance from the Brown Bear car wash in Kent across from the Safeway that reportedly showed the Cruze parked at the car wash and watching the store where Malijah’s parents had stopped. When Lynch drove away from Safeway, the Cruze followed along West Meeker Street. Detectives also used cellphone records that put Kime in the area of the Brown Bear car wash at the time of the Cruze being parked there.
Defense attorneys, however, claimed cellphone location records are based on what cell tower is used by the phone and that Kent only has a few in the area so Kime could have been somewhere else in Kent. The records don’t pinpoint an exact location, Maybrown told the jury.
Mulligan argued detectives couldn’t tell for sure if it was Kime’s girlfriend’s car at the car wash. She also said two witnesses to the shooting described the suspect’s car as a black Dodge Charger.
Mulligan and Maybrown claimed whichever men were inside that car were the true killers.