A 44-year-old man already serving a 10-year prison sentence was charged Wednesday with first-degree murder in a Tacoma gang shooting from 25 years ago.
A not-guilty plea was entered on behalf of Darrell M. Lee at his arraignment in Pierce County Superior Court. Court Commissioner Meagan Foley set bail at $2 million, but Lee also is on a state Department of Corrections hold.
Lee is the fourth man arraigned in the Aug. 28, 1988, shooting death of Bernard Houston. Nathaniel W. Miles, Brian C. Allen and Anthony Ralls, all in their 40s, previously pleaded not guilty in the case. A fifth man, Terris A. Miller, has been charged but not yet arraigned. Miller is serving time in the federal system for an unrelated crime.
Houston was 17 when he was gunned down in Tacoma’s Hilltop neighborhood in what police believe was a payback shooting. The defendants allegedly were members of a street gang and shot Houston, the member of a rival gang, to retaliate for an earlier attack that targeted their members, court records show.
In 2001, Lee admitted to police he was at the scene of the shooting but denied having a gun, court documents show.
He told a detective he and members of his gang took two cars that night to look for rival gang members to shoot. They found Houston and another man near South Sheridan and 23rd streets, he said.
Lee said he heard a gunshot when they pulled up and then saw Allen and Ralls get out and open fire.
“Lee stated he then laid down in the back seat and didn’t see anything until the gunfire stopped,” court records state.
Lee, who has a lengthy criminal record, was convicted in 2009 of drug crimes and sentenced to 10 years in state prison.