Three of the four suspects connected with the Oct. 25 shooting of 26-year-old Donald Thomas appeared in Pierce County Superior Court today to face charges of kidnapping, attempted robbery and felony harassment.
While all four will face jury trials for their roles in Thomas' death, none have been charged with homicide.
Thomas was allegedly at a Bonney Lake residence to rob its residents and the lethal shots appeared to be in self-defense, said Phil Sorensen, Chief Deputy Prosecutor for Pierce County.
“If additional information comes through that looks like we should change our minds, we can certainly can do so, but at this point it’s not anticipated that any homicide charges will be filed,” said Sorensen. “There’s still an investigation going on, so other charges—specifically drug charges—could be coming.”
Three of the defendants—Colton E. Geeson, 20; Michael A. Edwards, 35; and Job M. Edwards of Bonney Lake, 33—appeared in court today for their arraignment. The fourth suspect, Krystal Frietas, 32, did not appear due to illness so her court date is pending.
According to the charging documents in this case, Geeson called 911 to report a shooting at a duplex on the 19200 block of 75th Ave. E. in Bonney Lake around 4 p.m. on Oct. 25. He met officers at the scene and told them he and Thomas were friends, and they were there to rob homeowners of their drugs. During the course of the robbery, Thomas was shot in the head.
Geeson said the homeowners held him at gunpoint, and they told him that he was going to die too. After Thomas was shot, Geeson was ordered to move his car into the garage so Thomas’ body could be placed in it. He did so but managed to escape on foot from the garage before the door closed and called police.
According to documents, after speaking to Geeson, investigators surveyed the residence. About the same time, Michael Edwards observed one of the detectives at the residence and called 911 to report a burglary. Still, police took him and Job Edwards, who was sitting on the stairs outside the home, into custody. Frietas was taken into custody after she was forced to exit the home. She is Michael’s girlfriend and lives at the residence with him and Job, according to investigators.
Initially, Michael Edwards told police that Thomas and Geeson broke into his house, and Thomas had a handgun. Eventually, he admitted that the two men were there to buy prescription painkillers from Frietas, according to documents.
Frietas told police that the two men were at her home to purchase drugs when Thomas produced a gun and started to struggle with Michael Edwards. She said Thomas fired his gun several times but denied seeing Michael Edwards with his own gun.
Michael Edwards allegedly disarmed Thomas, who fled down the stairs. Thomas ran into Job Edwards, who was coming up the stairs after he heard the commotion, armed with his own handgun. Job Edwards said he fired six or seven shots at Thomas. Michael Edwards admitted to shooting Thomas as well.
Investigators said Thomas was shot at close range in his head, the back of his neck, hips and back.
After Thomas fell, Michael Edwards admitted to dragging his body into the garage so that he could be placed in Geeson’s car.
Investigators found Thomas on the floor of the garage. Several spent shell castings plus a 12-gauge shotgun, a .40 caliber handgun and .45 caliber handgun were recovered from the scene.
After the shooting, Frietas admitted to police that she loaded a car with evidence from the scene and drove it to a nearby apartment complex and left it there. That car has since been recovered and is currently being processed.
At Monday’s arraignment, Geeson was charged with first-degree attempted robbery. His bail is set at $150,000. Frietas and the two Edwards men have all been charged with first-degree kidnapping and felony harassment for knowingly threatening and detaining Greeson during the robbery. A $250,000 bail has been set on all three individuals.
The Edwards men are both convicted felons and could also face potential charges for unlawful possession of a firearm, if they were found to be illegal, said Sorensen. Authorities must investigate their past convictions before adding the firearm charges.
If convicted, Frietas and the two Edwards men could face 10 to 12 years in prison for their charges. Geeson faces 6 years in prison for first-degree robbery. Geeson does not have a felony record—he was charged with misdemeanor crimes as a minor but his records are sealed.
A jury trial for the four individuals is scheduled for Dec. 17, 2012 in Pierce County Superior Court.