Scuffle breaks out after Seattle man sentenced for Cornucopia Days shooting: Updated story

A scuffle broke out among about a dozen people at the third-floor rotunda Tuesday afternoon at the Norm Maleng Regional Justice Center in Kent after a judge sentenced Edward Earl Cobb to the maximum of 39 years in prison for the first-degree murder for shooting 17-year-old Chezaray Bacchus in 2008 at a Kent fast-food restaurant.

Edward Cobb puts his head down in court Tuesday in Kent before he was sentenced to 39 years in prison for first-degree murder for shooting a Renton teen in 2008 in Kent.

Edward Cobb puts his head down in court Tuesday in Kent before he was sentenced to 39 years in prison for first-degree murder for shooting a Renton teen in 2008 in Kent.

A scuffle broke out among about a dozen people at the third-floor rotunda Tuesday afternoon at the Norm Maleng Regional Justice Center in Kent after a judge sentenced Edward Earl Cobb to the maximum of 39 years in prison for the first-degree murder for shooting 17-year-old Chezaray Bacchus in 2008 at a Kent fast-food restaurant.

Cobb, of Seattle, now 20, shot Bacchus, of Renton, on July 12, 2008 at the Arby’s restaurant along East Smith Street after the Kent Cornucopia Days festival.

The scuffle Tuesday among friends and relatives of Cobb and Bacchus started outside the courtroom of King County Superior Court Judge James Cayce. No arrests were made. The proceedings had moved along smoothly until Cobb flipped off the courtroom shortly after he received his sentence.

Cobb, dressed in a red jail jumpsuit but who was not in handcuffs, spun his chair to face the several rows of his friends and family shortly after Cayce issued the sentence.

“Mister Cobb you need to turn around,” Cayce said.

Cobb spun back to face the judge as he raised his middle fingers above his head.

“Mister Cobb, I am going to hold you in contempt unless you apologize,” Cayce said.

Cobb hesitated for a bit and then replied, “I apologize.”

Five of the eight King County corrections officers in the courtroom then moved into position in the aisle that separated the friends and families of Cobb and Bacchus.

Moments later, as Cobb stood up to leave the courtroom to be returned to jail, he started to shout slang terms at friends and relatives of Bacchus. Four officers quickly grabbed Cobb and escorted him from the courtroom.

But the chaos continued as people left the courtroom and stood in the third-floor rotunda. Officers had to separate several women before the groups eventually moved to the elevators and left the building.

Jail staff called Kent Police in as backup as the courtroom crowd lingered for several minutes outside the justice center building. About six police vehicles lined the driveway between the RJC garage and the courthouse.

Prior to the sentencing, the mothers of Bacchus and Cobb were among several relatives and friends who addressed the court.

Sherelle Williams, Bacchus’ mother, spoke about losing her son and asked for the maximum sentence for Cobb.

“If you have a child, you know how it feels to lose one,” Williams said. “My other son is missing his brother. We want justice to be served. I will never see or hear my son again.”

Yvonne Riggins Smith, Cobb’s mother, also spoke before the judge.

“I feel for both sides and my heart goes out to Miss Williams and her family,” Smith said. “I’m remorseful that this incident happened. As far as my son, I can’t justify nothing. It is what it is. I cannot take anything back. I do ask the court for leniency with my son. He took another person’s life, which is unfortunate.

“Even though my son is alive, he’s been through a hellish life due to mistakes in my life, but that doesn’t justify anything. His life has not been easy.”

Cobb put his head down into his chest during the time his mother spoke.

Bacchus was shot and killed after attending the Kent Cornucopia Days festival with friends. The youth died at the scene from one shot to the shoulder that entered his chest, and a second shot to the face, according to charging papers.

A preliminary investigation showed the shooting was gang-related, according to Kent Police.

King County Sheriff’s Office deputies arrested Cobb in October 2008 at a White Center home on a murder warrant for shooting Bacchus. Deputies responded to the home after a 911 domestic violence call from Cobb’s girlfriend.

Cobb pleaded not guilty in November 2008 to the first-degree murder charge. Cobb is being held without bail at the Norm Maleng Regional Justice Center.

A couple of hours after the Kent shooting in July 2008, Cobb was shot at a Renton convenience store. He survived, and was released from Harborview Medical Center in Seattle before detectives connected him to Bacchus’ death.

Witnesses at the Kent shooting told police that Cobb walked up to Bacchus as he stood near the Arby’s restaurant door and fired a shot from a handgun that struck Bacchus, according to charging papers.

Bacchus stumbled into the restaurant and collapsed on the floor. Cobb then walked up to him, said something, and fired a second shot at the unarmed youth.

A King County Superior Court jury found Cobb guilty Nov. 4 of first-degree murder.

Cobb, who was represented by attorney Robert McKay, addressed the court prior to his sentencing.

“I’ve been here two years and went through remorse,” Cobb said, in response to some who accused him of not showing any remorse. “I’m sorry I took his life. Somebody tried to take away my life. I’m not going to put it off on anyone else. I know I took somebody’s life. I apologize to their family.”

Cayce opted to give the maximum sentence for first-degree murder with a firearm enhancement.

“The murder was really an execution,” he said.

Senior Deputy Prosecutor Jeff Dernbach told the court that Cobb deserved a long sentence.

“He showed casual disregard for the victim’s life,” Dernbach said. “And the shooting occurred in front of people in a crowded Arby’s restaurant. People had to witness this and it was packed with people, including children.”

Cayce said Cobb’s lengthy criminal record also influenced his decision for the maximum sentence.

“In my mind that puts you back on top,” Cayce said after reading off a list of Cobb’s convictions.

Cobb’s juvenile convictions from 2000 to 2007 include custodial assault, third-degree possession of stolen property, false statement to a public servant, third-degree theft, fourth-degree assault, residential burglary, trafficking in stolen property, second-degree possession of stolen property and second-degree arson.


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