TACOMA, WA – The Pierce County Prosecutor’s Office charged Jess Charles Golden, 25, with one count of murder in the second degree for the death of Audreyanna Newell, 29. The charge comes with a firearm sentencing enhancement.
“Some of the details of the case are still murky,” said Prosecutor Mark Lindquist. “This is an ongoing investigation.”
On January 19, 2017, at about 8:20 pm, Tacoma Police were called to the 5800 block of Marine View Drive for a deceased woman identified as Audreyanna Newell. Her body was located in a view point cut out of the highway. She suffered a single gunshot wound to the back of her head and was pronounced dead at the scene.
There was an open, half full Corona beer bottle near her and a brown bag near her feet that contained a 6-pack of Corona bottles. Detectives were able to determine that the brown bag was used at 7-Eleven stores in Seattle. Detectives learned that Newell was released from jail in Seattle on January 17, 2017, so they contacted 7-11 stores near that location. In doing so, detectives obtained video evidence from January 19, 2017, showing Newell and a man, later identified as Jess Golden, purchasing two 6-packs of Corona.
The two boarded the LINK light rail train to SeaTac, and are seen getting into a vehicle that is registered to Golden. Video shows this vehicle leaving the parking garage at 5:22 pm.
Detectives contacted Golden, who agreed to be interviewed. Golden said he was in Seattle to meet a friend on January 19, but his friend did not show up. He said he then took the LINK down to the Park and Ride where he left his car and went home.
Later, Golden admitted he met a homeless girl named “Lexi” in Seattle and agreed to let her stay the night at his house. He reported that as he drove to his house "Lexi” started freaking out and began talking about drugs and prostitution. Golden said he changed his mind about allowing her to stay the night at his house and offered to take her to her ex-boyfriend’s house in Federal Way. He said he dropped her off at an apartment complex approximately five miles from where Newell’s body was discovered.
Detectives asked Golden if he owned a firearm, and he said he previously owned a handgun, but that gun was stolen when he was camping some time ago. Later in the interview, Golden admitted that he lied about owning a handgun at the time of this incident and that he had a gun in the glove box as he transported “Lexi” to Federal Way.
Detectives obtained search warrants for Golden’s vehicle and residence. A search of his vehicle revealed a seat cover on the driver’s seat only. Investigators also found what appeared to be a single drop of blood on the threshold of the passenger’s door. The tire tread on the Golden’s vehicle appeared to be consistent with the tire marks leading away from Newell’s body.
A physical examination of Golden’s cell phone revealed a search history that included searches about the depths of Lake Washington, the Puget Sound, and Cedar River. Golden’s gun has not been recovered. Detectives are awaiting phone records from Golden’s cell carrier, as well as DNA and fingerprint analysis from the Corona bottle located near Newell’s body.
Bail is set at $1,000,000.00.
Charges are only allegations and a person is presumed innocent unless he or she is proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
For more information, please contact James Lynch at (253) 798-6265, [email protected].