King County jury convicts man in 2021 Des Moines triple murder

Shooting outside bar by Joshua Puloka killed Ezra Taylor, Antoine Matthews and Angelia Hylton

Joshua Puloka. COURTESY FILE PHOTO, Des Moines Police

Joshua Puloka. COURTESY FILE PHOTO, Des Moines Police

A King County jury convicted a 46-year-old SeaTac man of all eight counts, including triple murder, manslaughter and assault, for a 2021 shooting outside a Des Moines bar.

Joshua Puloka, aka Joshua Everybodytalksabout, is scheduled to be sentenced June 21 for the Sept. 26, 2021 shooting outside the La Familia Sports Bar, 22855 Pacific Highway S., just north of Kent. The King County Superior Court jury issued its verdict May 2, according to the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office.

Ezra Taylor, 26; Antoine Matthews, 32; and Angelia Hylton, 46, died in the shooting. Two other men were shot and injured.

“Justice was done in this case – justice for Antoine Matthews, Angelia Hylton, and Ezra Taylor who were murdered, justice for the two additional surviving gunshot victims, justice for their families, and justice for our entire King County Community,” said King County Prosecuting Attorney Leesa Manion. “I am profoundly grateful for the senior deputy prosecuting attorneys, legal service professionals, and victim advocates of the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office whose skill and dedication led to this conviction. I am also thankful for our law enforcement partners whose investigation helped deliver the strongest case possible.”

Puloka’s conviction includes:

• Murder in the first degree (1 count)

• Murder in the second degree (2 counts)

• Manslaughter in the first degree (3 counts)

• Assault in the first degree (1 count)

• Assault in the second degree (1 count)

Des Moines Police detectives used video surveillance, cellphone video and witness statements that led to the arrest of Puloka. A dispute inside the bar spilled outside and led to fights in the parking lot and the shootings, according to charging documents.

“The defendant is on video in an altercation in the parking lot of La Familia Sports Bar,” Jennifer Petersen, senior deputy prosecuting attorney, wrote in charging documents. “The parking lot was crowded with patrons who had gathered after the bar closed. Victim Antoine Matthews swings one time at the defendant and the defendant falls backward.

“The defendant begins shooting as he falls. The defendant continues to shoot even as Matthews is running away. The defendant continues shooting his gun into the crowded parking lot striking multiple victims.”

Matthews was struck twice in the back. Hylton, an innocent bystander, was shot in the back. Taylor, an innocent bystander, was shot in the back of the head.

A smaller group of people, including Puloka, ended up along Pacific Highway South, where fights continued and then shots were fired. Police recovered 31 cartridge casings from the scene. The Washington State Patrol crime lab and a forensic scientist concluded all the rounds recovered from the three people killed were from the same 9mm Luger firearm.

Puloka was wearing a “Rare Breed” motorcycle vest that helped detectives identify him.

Puloka turned himself in Oct. 25. 2021 after Des Moines Police issued a media release that they were looking for him as a suspect in the shootings.

Puloka has a history of shooting people. He pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter in 1999 after he met up with a man to sell him two kilos of cocaine for $35,000. Puloka tried to rob the man instead and when the man ran away, Puloka fired five shots and killed him. He received a seven-year sentence in 2003.

Puloka was convicted of third-degree assault with a firearm enhancement in a 2014 shooting outside a Seattle bar. A jury acquitted him of a second-degree murder charge in the case when he claimed self-defense. He received a 54-month sentence.

Puloka has a lengthy list of juvenile convictions, including escape and robbery. He has 18 adult misdemeanor convictions and 25 juvenile misdemeanor convictions.

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