A 15-year-old SeaTac girl allegedly tried to bump a jogger with her vehicle to “scare him” on an early Sunday morning in July in Maple Valley when she reportedly struck the man and killed him.
King County prosecutors filed charges of second-degree murder and hit-and-run on Sept. 14 against the girl, who is not being named because she is being charged as a juvenile. The girl reportedly was driving a 2004 Toyota Camry that hit and killed Gregory Moore, 53, of Maple Valley just after 6 a.m. July 18 in the 23800 block of Southeast 216th Street.
“I’m going to scare him, I’m going to bump him,” the suspect reportedly told a friend riding with her in the car as they approached a man running on the side of the road, according to charging papers and an interview of the friend by a King County Sheriff’s Office detective.
The girl then reportedly hit Moore and left the scene, along with another vehicle traveling with her and behind her.
The friend in the other vehicle told detectives that the girl had taken the Camry from her godmother and that she took her mom’s car and was driving it alone behind the suspect. She said she heard a loud bang and saw something fly into the air. She estimated they were going about 50 mph (in a 35 mph zone).
She said the Camry swerved and straightened out and that they continued driving. They eventually made a right turn and stopped to look at the car.
“They were freaking out,” the friend said.
After the girl returned home, she reportedly told her godmother that she lives with in SeaTac that somebody had hit the Toyota Camry with a bat and that’s why it had damage. The girl did not have permission to use the car, but denied to her godmother that she drove it.
A relative of the girl told the godmother just over a week ago that the girl had reportedly hit somebody with the car. The godmother later watched a news video that showed the Toyota Camry detectives were looking for. The godmother contacted the girl’s father.
The girl reportedly admitted to her father that she hit the man with the car, according to charging documents.
Detectives used headlight fragments found near the scene of the collision, along with video surveillance and other evidence, to determine they were looking for a Toyota Camry from 2002 to 2006 and released a photo and information to the media.
After the release of that information, the godmother went to a SeaTac precinct and told detectives her goddaughter may be involved in the hit-and-run that killed Moore. She gave a deputy the keys to her 2004 Camry.
A detective went to the house to look at the car and noticed that the missing headlight pieces matched what had been recovered at the scene. The detective also observed damage to the lower right bumper and a cracked windshield, consistent with a pedestrian collision and the injuries suffered by Moore. The godmother gave the detective permission to remove the car off her property for evidence.
When the girl returned Sept. 7 to her godmother’s house, she saw the Camry was gone. She apparently got in an argument with her godmother, began to break things around the house and fled on foot. Her whereabouts were unknown until her father turned her in Sept. 9 to SeaTac Police. The girl was taken into custody without incident and didn’t make any statements to detectives.
Detectives tracked down video surveillance that showed a Toyota Camry and another vehicle traveling that Sunday morning in July near where Moore was hit. The video showed the two cars going at a high rate of speed and speeding through a stop sign at an intersection. A witness also saw a car speed through the intersection.
Moore grew up in Issaquah lived in Maple Valley for over 25 years, according to information posted by his wife Michelle Moore on a gofundme.com account for Greg Moore started in July. The account had raised $38,885 as of Sept. 14.
Not charged as an adult
The girl’s case will remain in juvenile court because of her age. Youth who are 16 can legally be charged as an adult if they are charged with a felony and if found guilty, face longer sentences.
“Because she was 15 at the time of the incident, she is not subject to automatic adult court jurisdiction,” said Casey McNerthney, spokesman for the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, in a Sept. 14 email. “Any decision to transfer this matter to adult court would be up to a juvenile court judge. Given the facts of this investigation and the circumstances of this case, the law does not support transferring this case to adult court. Fifteen year olds accused of murder are presumed to be subject to juvenile court jurisdiction.”
McNerthney also explained the second-degree murder charge rather than a first-degree murder charge.
“The facts in the (charging) documents do not support that charge,” he said about first-degree murder. “There is no evidence to establish that she premeditated the death of Mr. Moore, which is required for a first-degree murder charge. They were strangers to each other.
“She is charged with murder in the second degree under the felony murder theory. That is, in the attempt to commit a felony, she caused the death of another human being. Specifically, in this case, it is alleged that she intended to hit/bump the victim with a motor vehicle (assault in the second degree), and this caused his death.”
McNerthney said prosecutors know people will disagree with the charges.
“We understand that many people who knew and loved Mr. Moore find the legal remedies neither sufficient nor just,” he said. “We are sorry for his loss and this tragedy that should not have happened. We will do everything within our ability to hold this juvenile responsible for her actions and to support the family through the legal process, knowing that even guilty verdicts will not make up for this senseless crime.”
As of Tuesday, the girl had not yet entered a plea in the case with another court hearing coming up Sept. 15.
Editor’s note: This story has since been edited to remove the 15-year-old suspect’s name because she is being charged as a juvenile, not as an adult.