Tristan Appleberry Sentenced to 20 Years for Murder of Aaron Sullivan

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The P-I reports that Tristan Appleberry, the 20-year-old Leschi man who last month plead guilty to what county prosecutors have called the "unjustified execution" of Aaron Sullivan, will be spending the next 20 years in prison. As Nina Shapiro reported in her in her 2009 feature, "Black, White and Bled All Over," the 18-year-old biracial teen was gunned down last summer in what the cops responding to the incident mistakenly assumed was a gang related shooting.

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Aaron Sullivan
Sullivan wasn't a gang member. And as it turned out, neither was Appleberry. According to the PI, Appleberry's attorneys argued that he deserved a reduced sentence, arguing that he'd never intended to kill Sullivan, but simply returned to his home in Leschi following the altercation because he "believed that his mother and family pets were in danger."

It was Appleberry's learning disabilities, they argued, that prevented him from halting the chain of events that started with an "unremarkable altercation" and led ultimately to him firing an AK-47 into the car where Sullivan and his friends were sitting, killing the teen.

King County Superior Court Judge Joan DuBuque wasn't convinced and sentenced Appleberry to the full term recommended by county prosecutors.

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