Renton man sentenced in 2020 killing of 18-year-old in Kirkland

Two juveniles and the victim planned to meet the three men at Houghton Beach Park to trade an assault rifle for a handgun and money.

The King County Superior Court has sentenced a Renton man for the murder of an 18-year-old man in Kirkland in September 2020.

Judge Nicole Gaines-Phelps sentenced 21-year-old Chrisean Jowayne Kaufman of Renton to 10 years and 3 months in confinement at a hearing Oct. 27 after he pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of murder in the second degree, down from a charge of murder in the first degree.

According to prosecutorial documents, three men including Kaufman, in addition to Joshua Scott Hawthorne, 20, of Renton and Calvin Silvaka Vao, 19, of Kent, shot and fatally injured Cyrus Mason, 18, on Sept. 16, 2020.

Hawthorne and Vao continue to await jury trials. Hawthorne and Vao both face a charge of murder in the first degree.

According to an affidavit of probable cause, two juveniles and the victim, Mason, planned to meet the three men at Houghton Beach Park to trade an assault rifle in exchange for a handgun and money.

In the process of robbing Mason of his assault rifle, the three men shot Mason multiple times on the swim dock of the park. Officers arrived to find Mason on the dock, bleeding from multiple gunshot wounds.

After first responders transported Mason to Harborview Medical Center, Mason died as a result of his injuries at the hospital. The King County Medical Examiner’s Office ruled Mason’s death a homicide as a result of multiple gunshot wounds.

Through investigation of the incident, law enforcement identified and arrested Kaufman, Hawthorne and Vao, with prosecutors filing charges against the three men in February 2021.

Kaufman filed a statement pleading guilty to the reduced charge of murder in the second degree in September 2023.

“I drove my two people to Houghton Beach Park in Kirkland so that they could confront Cyrus Mason with a firearm. While there, the two people shot Cyrus Mason, causing his death. I then drove those two people away from the scene of the shooting,” Kaufman stated.

In addition to his term of confinement, Kaufman’s sentence additionally included 36 months of community custody upon release.

Family members of Mason attended Kaufman’s sentencing hearing on Oct. 27.

“We were friends, we were confidants and each other’s support system through life’s ups and downs,” read a victim impact statement submitted to the court on the day of Kaufman’s sentencing. “Cyrus was a pillar of strength, compassion, and wisdom, and his absence has left an irreplaceable void in my life.”

Both Hawthorne and Vao have jury trials scheduled for Jan. 8, 2024.


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