TACOMA, WA – Today Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist charged Jeremy Bennett, 17, and Andrew Boyd, 18, with Murder in the First Degree and Robbery in the First Degree, in the death of Lawrence F. Howse, 54, a resident of Tacoma’s Stadium District. Jeremy Bennett has also been charged with Unlawful Possession of a Firearm in the Second Degree.
Titeana Bankston, 20, and Jheri Flood, 24, were charged with Rendering Criminal Assistance in the First Degree for helping Boyd and Jeremy hide and destroy evidence after the murder.
Boyd and Jaron Bennett, 24, Jeremy’s brother, have also been charged with Robbery in the Second Degree for a robbery of a Walgreens drug store on September 3, 2013. Jaron, a convicted felon, has also been charged with Unlawful Possession of a Firearm in the First Degree for a gun found during a search of his bedroom.
“This was a mindless murder that violated a sense of safety in our community,” said Prosecutor Mark Lindquist. “We’re going to hold the perpetrators fully accountable, including those who assisted the killers by hiding and destroying evidence. Fortunately, Tacoma Police detectives did a rapid, smart, and thorough investigation so these criminals are off our streets.”
On September 5, 2013, Mr. Howse was found murdered in his condominium parking garage. After parking his car, he was walking to the elevator when he was robbed. Just before the robbery, a witness on a balcony above the entrance to the garage heard one of the defendants say, “Let’s go get him.” A few moments later she heard gunshots.
Based on surveillance video and witness statements, police put together descriptions of the two suspects. A recent robbery of a Tacoma Walgreens involved a suspect wearing a distinctive jacket similar to one worn by one of the suspect seen in the murder. The individual wearing the jacket was ultimately identified as Boyd. Jeremy Bennett was identified as the second suspect in the murder, while his brother Jaron was identified as Boyd’s accomplice in the Walgreens robbery.
Jeremy Bennett confessed to detectives that and Boyd robbed Howse. During the robbery, Boyd told Howse to take off his pants. When Howse did not do so, Boyd shot him. Boyd claimed it was Jeremy Bennett who shot the victim. Boyd was seen with the gun hours before the shooting.
All five defendants are scheduled to be arraigned today at 1:30 pm, in Pierce County Superior Court, Courtroom 270. Under state law, Jeremy Bennett will be prosecuted as an adult because of the seriousness of the charges. Charges are only allegations and a person is presumed innocent unless he or she is proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
Kelly Kelstrup, Pierce County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office