A man charged with killing a homeless woman and leaving her body along a Tacoma road says he dropped her off with a friend after she pulled a knife on him.
Police don’t believe that.
At arraignment Thursday, Jess Golden, 25, pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder, and Court Commissioner Meagan Foley set his bail at $1 million.
Pierce County prosecutors allege Golden fatally shot Audrey Anna Newell, 29, at a viewpoint in the 5800 block of Marine View Drive.
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A woman who identified herself as Golden’s mother attended his arraignment, and said that doesn’t seem like something he’d do.
“He wouldn’t hurt a fly,” Teresa Golden said. “This is something that is so shocking, I can’t even absorb it.”
A man walking his dog found Newell’s body Jan. 19. She died from a gunshot to the back of her head.
The two apparently met shortly after Newell was released from a Seattle jail Jan. 17.
Video from a convenience store shows Newell and Golden buying several items together, including two six-packs of beer.
They then took the Link to SeaTac, got into Golden’s car and headed for Marine View Drive, charging papers state.
Surveillance footage from several cameras captured them traveling. They drove by a restaurant on Marine View Drive just before 6 p.m.
A witness reported hearing a gunshot at 6:20 p.m. Newell’s body was found about 8:20 p.m. A beer bottle and a paper bag containing a six-pack were found nearby.
Detectives traced the bag to a Seattle convenience store, where they obtained video and identified Golden.
During an interview, he allegedly told police he met Newell and agreed to let her stay at his home but later changed his mind and offered to drop her to a friend in Federal Way.
Golden said she pulled a knife on him during the drive, so he offered her a handgun in his glove box so she could sell it for money, records show.
He said he left her about 6 p.m. at an apartment complex five miles from where Newell died.
Detectives do not provide a motive in charging papers.
The gun used in the shooting has not been found. A search of Golden’s cellphone showed he searched for the depths of Lake Washington, Puget Sound and Cedar River.
Police are awaiting results from a drop of blood found on the passenger door of Golden’s car and fingerprints on the beer bottle found near Newell.
Staff writer Alexis Krell contributed to this report.
Stacia Glenn: 253-597-8653