Man guilty of killing two women in Renton

Zachary Damien Craven’s sentencing is scheduled for June 15.

Man guilty of killing two women in Renton

A Kent man was found guilty on two counts of first degree murder and one count of assault.

Zachary Damien Craven, 27, was charged for killing his 66-year-old grandmother Angelika Anna Hayden and 21-year-old Meagan Smith. Both murders took place in Renton.

His sentencing is scheduled for 10 a.m., June 15 at King County Superior Court, room E713.

The guilty verdict was reached on May 29 after the jury deliberated for two days.

Hayden was found dead in her home on July 7, 2015. She was found by Craven’s grandfather Robert W. Luxton. He told police he was concerned when he couldn’t reach Hayden. He drove to her house in Skyway and found her in the living room.

Investigators found a single .22-claiber shell casing near her body.

Craven’s last known address was at Luxton’s house in Kent. Craven had threatened Luxton’s life and pistol whipped him previously, according to court documents.

When investigators searched Luxton’s residence, they found several live .22 caliber rounds in the area where Craven was said to have slept in. They also found three empty handgun holsters.

A neighbor told investigators he saw a man leaving Hayden’s house the day prior and again on the day of the murder with garbage with bags filled with something. The witness had photographed the truck’s license plate.

Investigators tracked down the truck and learned that Craven and his acquaintance had driven the truck to and from Hayden’s house on both days.

They also learned that Craven was staying at another acquaintance’s house, however was kicked out when he brought in a small “German World War 2” type pistol.

According to court documents Craven had previously threatened Hayden. He was recorded saying he would “slit her throat” and “kill her dog.” Initially, a judge agreed to send him to a drug-rehabilitation center, however after Craven did not comply, the treatment was terminated. He had a no-contact order on Hayden.

The same day Luxton called police to report Hayden’s death, Rodney and Margaret Cunningham and their daughter Theresa arrived to Seattle after a vacation earlier than expected.

Theresa’s friend, Meagan Smith, was house sitting their home in the Rolling Hills for the Cunninghams and was supposed to pick the family up from the airport. When the family was unable to reach her, they got a ride from another family member.

When they reached home, the house was locked, however the back door was left open. Smith was found lying dead on the kitchen floor in a pool of her own blood. A single .22 casing was found on the floor.

Theresa told investigators she was dating Craven and that the two had recently broken up. She said she believed he killed Smith using a gun he stole from his grandfather.

As investigators interviewed Theresa, she received a call from an unknown caller. She put the call on speaker phone, only to hear Craven on the other line.

He asked her to pick him up at the Walgreen’s on Rainier Avenue. He said he needed her help and asked her to come alone.

Renton police officers made their way to the Walgreens. Craven ignored officers’ commands to stop. He was tazed and taken into custody. He refused to answer questions.

In a bag he was carrying at the time of his arrest, investigators found a handmade birthday card by Theresa and her breakup note dated June 11, 2015.

Craven was held on $5 million bail at King County Jail.

He pleaded not guilty to all counts. He was previously convicted for second-degree animal cruelty for stabbing his grandmother’s cat to death. He also had first degree theft, domestic violence, felony harassment domestic violence and DUI charges.

He is currently in custody at King County Correctional Facility in Seattle.


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