Ondrell Harding Sentenced for Bus Stop Beating, But May Have Gotten Away With Murder

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Last time we checked on Ondrell Harding, the 22-year-old aspiring gangsta rapper was due in court on charges that he pummeled a man at a south Seattle bus stop. Harding eventually pleaded guilty to the assault charge and was sentenced last week, but he has still managed to avoid prosecution for the murder he allegedly committed last June.

The bus stop beating occurred just after midnight on October 21 on the 7600 block of Rainier Avenue South. According to court documents, the victim was a young man named Keenan Offord. While waiting for the bus, Offord reportedly began "talking trash" to a group of men that included Harding, better known by the street names Baby D and Doe.

"Mr. Offord swung at me first but missed," Harding later wrote in court documents. "I punched [him] repeatedly; knocked him unconscious and broke his nose."

Harding was arrested and charged with third-degree assault. Court records show he pleaded guilty on December 23, and was sentenced Friday to three months in jail. He must also pay $600 in restitution, and obey a no-contact order with Offord for the next five years. The sentence is at the low end of the standard range for third-degree assault, which can carry penalties of up to eight months in jail.

But while Harding got off relatively light in the assault case, it's nothing compared to the complete lack of punishment that he has received for the coldblooded murder he was accused of committing last summer. According to court documents, on July 21 Harding bludgeoned 51-year-old Anthony Matthews to death in front of Matthews' wife and 11-year-old son.

A probable cause statement submitted to the King County Prosecutor's Office by SPD detective Russ Wekych on July 26 says the mother, son, and a family friend told police that they watched Harding, "pummel the unconscious Matthews repeatedly with closed fists about the face and head," in their apartment on the 5100 block of South Garden Street.

Despite three witnesses to the alleged homicide, Harding has not been charged. Dan Donahoe, spokesman for the King County prosecutor's office, says the case has not been referred to their office by SPD.

Ian Goodhew, chief of staff for King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg, told Seattle Weekly last month that police were still investigating the killing. "To put it bluntly," Goodhew said. "It's a case of who acted first, and who did what in terms of the assaultive behavior."

Reached Friday, SPD spokeswoman Renee Witt said she would contact homicide detectives to find out the status of the case, but she has yet to reply with any additional information that might explain why Harding has thus far managed to avoid prosecution.

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