Suspect in Central District business owner’s death faces charges
A man suspected of killing D’Vonne Pickett Jr., a business owner and community leader in the Central District, along with a string of other violent crimes has been charged by the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office.
Police said that Ashton Lefall, 31, is facing first-degree murder charges for shooting and killing Pickett outside his shipping business, The Postman, last Wednesday.
Pickett was a basketball star at Rainier Beach High School and played collegiately at Seattle University. He was also a youth football coach with the CD Panthers.
When police asked Pickett’s wife if there was anyone who would want to hurt her husband she told police that Lefall had been harassing Pickett and his family for the past two years. He was a former childhood friend of Pickett’s.
According to charging documents, Pickett was walking up to the front of his store when his wife heard gunshots. She turned around and saw a man wearing a mask, shooting at Pickett.
“Lefall poses an incredible danger to the community if he were to be released from custody,” the charging documents said.
Lefall is also under a “no contact” order with Pickett’s family.
In addition to the charges, Lefall faces three counts of first-degree assault, a count of first-degree robbery, and unlawful possession of a firearm.
“The documents that came out today really showed the teamwork between Seattle Police and King County prosecutors and other law enforcement agencies working around the clock, really 20 to 30 hours in a row to try to stop this crime spree that had multiple innocent random victims,” said Casey McNerthney, Director of Communications at the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office.
He is accused of robbing and shooting Mamadou Diakhate, the business owner of an African import specialty store, two days before killing Pickett. The following day, he is suspected to have shot two others randomly while they were driving in their cars.
The arraignment for Lefall will be held Nov. 7 where he will enter an initial plea.
Lefall is being held in King County Jail without bail after it was ruled he was an immediate danger due to his erratic behavior, according to court documents.
“This was described in court by a senior deputy prosecutor, who did an excellent job to argue successfully, that he should be held on no bail,” McNerthney said. “That this behavior shows an incredible danger.”
McNerthney noted a defendant being held without bail is a rare occurrence.
Darren Dedo contributed to this report.