The Roundup: Trial Begins for Alleged Baby Killer; Construction Workers and Teachers End Strikes

A weekly roundup of regional news

• A King County Superior Court jury will hear testimony and look at evidence over the next few weeks to determine whether Marty Kime fatally shot a 1-year-old baby girl in Kent more than three years ago while targeting her father as part of a gang retaliation.

Kime, 27, was a member of the Low Profile gang, and wanted to avenge the killing of his fellow gang member John Williams, who was shot in Seattle in 2015, according to prosecutors. Kent Police detectives claimed that Kime fired at a car containing Lisa Lynch, the mother of 1-year-old Malijah Grant, and the baby’s father, and a member of Deuce 8—a rival Seattle-area gang—hitting baby Malijah in the head. Lynch and the baby’s father had picked up Malijah at her babysitter’s home and stopped at the Kent Valley Safeway on their way home. The baby died two days later at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.

Kent Police have not found the gun used in the shooting. But police arrested Kime after an eight-month investigation that involved 46 search warrants, the review of approximately 71,000 social media pages (Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat), 213 witness interviews and more than 110,000 phone call record reviews.

Senior Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Adrienne McCoy said that video surveillance from homes and businesses, cellphone records and social media sites used by Kime will show that he and another man followed the car from the Safeway before shooting at the vehicle in a drive-by. Detectives also matched shell casings found at the scene to a gun that Kime posed with in a photo.

“The evidence of Marty Kime’s guilt doesn’t come from one witness or one piece of evidence,” McCoy told the jury during her opening statement. “It comes from multiple places. Listening to it will take a lot of work. …you will be convicting him based upon objective evidence that collaborates witness testimony and convinces you beyond a reasonable doubt.”

If convicted, Kime could face a sentence of 41-54 years in prison, according to the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office. The trial began Sept. 10 at the Maleng Regional Justice Center in Kent and could last until the end of November.

Kime’s defense attorney Lisa Mulligan told the jury that the detectives arrested the wrong man for the child’s death. Mulligan said prosecutors have no video footage of the shooting, no eyewitness identifications of the suspect and no confession to link Kime to the murder. “Instead what you have are a whole lot of people who wanted revenge for John Williams death,” she said. — Kent Reporter

• After a three-day strike for better wages, the new school year kicked off late with classes starting on Sept. 10 within the Tukwila School District.

The original start date for school was Sept. 5, but the Tukwila Education Association (TEA) and the Tukwila School District were still in the process of bargaining at that time. A tentative agreement was reached on Sept. 7 for a 10 percent wage increase, which was approved by both the school board and the teachers union in the following days.

Originally, the school district was going to offer the Tukwila teachers a 6.25 percent wage increase for the 2018-19 school year, according to the district. But teachers and school staff contended that the increase wasn’t competitive enough to keep teachers and to attract new teachers, according to Debbie Aldous, TEA treasurer and Showalter Middle School teacher.

“I think that it’s good that we are back in school, everybody’s happy to be back with their students,” Aldous said. “Everybody was just relieved to be back in school.”

However, the agreement is strictly a one-year contract, Aldous said. Next summer the two sides will be back to the bargaining table. “We hope that future negotiations aren’t as contentious,” said Rhonda Lee, communications officer for the Tukwila School District. — Tukwila Reporter

• After the City of Auburn’s 15th Street Northwest-Northeast Pavement Preservation project stalled due to a regional “crane operators strike” organized by the International Union of Operating engineers over wages, hours, and working conditions, the labor dispute has ended.

According to a statement on the IOUE website, a third “tentative agreement was reached for the Western WA Master Labor Agreement, and members are to stand down on all picketing actions and return to regular work status” effective Sept. 7. Details of the agreement have not yet been released.

The walkout, whose participants in Seattle were heavily covered, was widespread and affected asphalt and concrete plant operators, concrete pump truck operators, loader operators and excavation and backhoe operators across Western Washington.

Ingrid Gaub, public works director for Auburn, said that the city couldn’t get asphalt, concrete or gravel materials, nor could it find the operators it needed to operate equipment, a situation that stopped several projects in their tracks in addition to the work on 15th Street Northeast and Northwest.

“Basically, we’re talking about huge portion of basically anybody who is anybody in the operators category within the King County area, but also in Clallam, Jefferson, Mason, Grays Harbor, Kitsap, Island, San Juan, Snohomish, and Kittitas counties,” said Gaub of the workers who were on strike. — Auburn Reporter

• The Port of Seattle has denied requests from the Federal Way City Council to extend the public comment period on new construction at Sea-Tac International Airport despite resident concerns over increased pollution.

This was not an ideal response to Federal Way Mayor Jim Ferrell. “While we are disappointed that the Port denied our request for an extension, we will do whatever we can to continue to advocate strongly for our residents to be heard when it comes to this important issue,” Ferrell said.

The airport construction plan would add a 19-gate passenger terminal as well as new taxiway extensions and additional facilities for air cargo and over 20 additional infrastructure projects.

Federal Way residents are increasingly concerned about the potential noise and air pollution that the expanded airport would generate, prompting the city to ask for the extension to get more public feedback. “This is an issue that greatly affects the quality of life of Federal Way residents, and we will do whatever we can to continue to advocate for residents to be heard on this issue,”said Tyler Hemstreet, the city’s communications coordinator.

In a letter responding to the city’s request, the Port of Seattle cited “ample opportunities for review and comment” as the justification for denying the extension. — Federal Way Mirror

Malijah Grant, 1, was fatally shot in Kent in April 2015 during a drive-by shooting. COURTESY PHOTO

Malijah Grant, 1, was fatally shot in Kent in April 2015 during a drive-by shooting. COURTESY PHOTO