Just moments after a jury found Marty Kime guilty of fatally shooting 1-year-old Malijha Grant, nearly a dozen officers had to forcibly restrain Kime and the baby’s father from going after each other in an emotion-packed Kent courtroom.
Kime and Martrice Grant-Walker never got close to each other as King County Corrections and Kent Police officers swarmed the two men in the heavily guarded courtroom Nov. 8 at the Maleng Regional Justice Center. Kime, found guilty of second-degree murder in the April 2015 drive-by, gang-retaliation shooting, struggled with officers as they removed him from the courtroom and into the hallway that leads back to the county jail.
Officers also removed Grant-Walker, the intended target in the shooting near the intersection of Lake Fenwick Road and Reith Road, from the courtroom.
“He did do it,” Grant-Walker repeated several times as he left the courtroom followed by repeats of, “This is what he wanted,” and “He is cooked.” Grant-Walker then added, “God is good, he got my baby.”
Kime and Grant-Walker were members of rival Seattle gangs during the shooting in Kent. A bullet struck and killed Malijha Grant as she sat in her car seat in the back seat of a car driven by her mother Lisa Lynch with Grant-Walker riding in the front passenger seat.
About 14 relatives and friends of Malijha Grant sat on the left side of the courtroom behind Senior Deputy Prosecutor Adrienne McCoy to hear the verdict after the jury deliberated for two and a half days. A handful of women sat on the right side behind Kime and defense attorney Lisa Mulligan, who sat in chairs at a desk in front of the judge.
Kent Police sent extra officers to the Regional Justice Center because of the gang ties to the case. Police SUVs lined the streets outside of the center. Inside the facility, extra officers were positioned outside the courtroom, some armed with rifles.
More than a dozen corrections and police officers were inside the courtroom. Three stood in front of the exit door. Seven more were up front, two right behind Kime and one facing the gallery with his back to Kime. Three police officers sat at the end of rows on Kime’s side of the gallery.
When Judge Johanna Bender read the jury’s guilty verdicts on the second-degree murder and two first-degree assault charges (for firing at Grant-Walker and Lynch), Kime appeared to shake his head, visibly upset about the verdict. Mulligan, his attorney, put her hand on his shoulder and hugged him a moment later to try to console him.
Grant-Walker appeared to be staring at Kime, who several times glanced back at Grant-Walker. Shortly after the judge confirmed the verdict of each jury member, someone shouted and Kime immediately jumped to his feet before officers quickly grabbed him to take him out of the courtroom. Grant-Walker started to move out of the middle of his row but officers stopped him.
Officers eventually escorted the friends and relatives of Malijha to another area of the Regional Justice Center. Officers also escorted the friends of Kime out of the courtroom.
Everyone who entered the court went through extra security and could not bring in cellphones, smartwatches or cameras. That ban also applied to the media, which included just one newspaper reporter.
Judge Bender and the attorneys were unable to set a sentencing date for Kime before the eruption in the courtroom. Bender, on Tuesday, set a sentencing date of Jan. 11. The judge will consider recommendations from prosecutors and the defense attorneys before she sentences Kime.
Kime, 27, faces a sentence of 41 to 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.
Attorneys and family members were unavailable for interviews after the abrupt ending to the hearing.
Mulligan argued that Kent Police arrested the wrong man. She claimed two other gang members in a different car shot at Grant-Walker and hit the baby instead.
McCoy, the prosecutor, said Kime wanted to avenge the killing of close friend and fellow gang member John Williams, fatally shot in March 2015 in Seattle. She said video surveillance from homes and businesses, cellphone records and social media sites used by Kime showed 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.
Police never found the gun. The other man in the car has not been identified or arrested in connection with the fatal shooting of Malijha.
Investigators do not believe that Kime acted alone, and the intent is to continue to work all avenues of this case in order to bring everyone involved in this crime to justice, according to a Kent Police media release on Monday about the verdict.
“Even with the insurmountable barriers that investigators had to overcome during this investigation, they remained determined to ensure the ultimate goal of obtaining justice for baby Malijha and her family; I think it is fair to say, we were able to accomplish that,” Kent Police Chief Rafael Padilla said.
(Editor’s Note: This story was updated Nov. 13 (from its original Nov. 8 posting) with Kime’s sentencing date and a quote from Kent Police Chief Rafael Padilla).