SeaTac man sentenced to life in 2021 Des Moines triple murder

Jury convicted Joshua Puloka in May of shootings outside of sports bar

Joshua Puloka. COURTESY PHOTO, Des Moines Police

Joshua Puloka. COURTESY PHOTO, Des Moines Police

A 47-year-old SeaTac man received a life sentence without parole for the 2021 triple murder outside a Des Moines bar.

Joshua Puloka, aka Joshua Everybodytalksabout, received the sentence Friday, June 21 from King County Superior Court Judge LeRoy McCullough at the Maleng Regional Justice Center in Kent, according to the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office.

Puloka was sentenced on three counts of second-degree murder, one count of first-degree assault and one count of second-degree assault.

A jury convicted Puloka on May 2 for the Sept. 26, 2021 shooting outside the La Familia Sports Bar, 22855 Pacific Highway S., just north of Kent.

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

“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 after the jury verdict in May.

Puloka was subject to the third strike law because of two previous felony convictions.

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.

In a couple of previous cases, Puloka 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.

Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 300 words or less.

More in News

Kent Police arrest woman in domestic violence case after 4-hour standoff

27-year-old woman reportedly attacked husband, father-in-law Monday, July 22

Kent man, 47, under investigation for vehicular assault on SR 509

Wrong-way driver in northbound lanes collided with two vehicles; 6 people injured in Burien crash

9th Congressional District Rep. Adam Smith, 8th Congressional District Rep. Kim Schrier, 1st Congressional District Rep. Suzan DelBene and U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell are among Democrats from Washington state who support President Joe Biden’s decision to stop his re-election campaign. Courtesy photos
WA Democrat leaders ‘applaud’ Biden for dropping out of race

Smith, Schrier, DelBene and Cantwell released statements in support of President Biden’s Sunday decision to no longer seek re-election.

Gov. Inslee appoints Pat Sullivan to lead state budget office

Sullivan previously served as House District 47 state representative for Kent, Covington, Auburn

Kent Police seek man who reportedly tried to kidnap girl from apartment

Man allegedly reached into bathroom window to grab girl in attempted kidnapping

Kent Police arrest man, 18, in fatal shooting of 13-year-old boy

Judge finds probable cause to hold the Kent man for murder, attempted murder and robbery

The Judge Patricia H. Clark Children and Family Justice Center in Seattle that handles juvenile detention. COURTESY PHOTO, King County
High-profile juvenile crimes continue to rock Kent this summer

Six incidents in five weeks include fatal shooting, vehicular homicide, vehicular assault

King County Correctional Facility in Seattle. COURTESY PHOTO, King County
Kent man charged with attempted kidnapping of 6-year-old girl

40-year-old man allegedly try to take girl from apartment complex parking lot

Maleng Regional Justice Center in Kent. FILE PHOTO
Kent man receives 8-year sentence in 2021 fatal shooting

Pleaded guilty to lesser charge of manslaughter in shooting at apartment complex over parking dispute

Courtesy Photo, King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office
Judge finds probable cause to hold Kent man for kidnapping girl

Man, 40, reportedly grabbed 6-year-old girl in East Hill apartment complex parking lot

King County residential property values rise 12.4% in SE Kent

King County Assessor John Wilson begins to release 2024 numbers

Three 11-year-old girls in Kent help stop kidnapping of 6-year-old girl

40-year-old man reportedly grabbed girl in apartment complex parking lot on East Hill