An argument over a missing car escalated into one man spraying another with bear spray, then shooting him dead, Pierce County prosecutors say.
Justin Jennings, 39, pleaded not guilty Friday to second-degree murder in the death of 50-year-old J. Christopher Burton, who died May 6 at a home in Frederickson.
Superior Court Commissioner Meagan Foley ordered Jennings jailed in lieu of $1 million bail.
Burton was found with two gunshot wounds to the chest, either of which would have been fatal, according to charging documents.
Prosecutors gave this account:
Jennings and another man went to the Frederickson home looking for a car the second man had left parked there.
When the man began to argue with Burton about why his car wasn’t there, the argument became physical. At that point Jennings, who was standing a few feet away from Burton and the other man, pulled out a can of bear spray and unleashed it on Burton.
Burton then began throwing things at Jennings, who pulled out a semi-automatic handgun and fired it twice into Burton’s chest, prosecutors said.
Jennings and the other man fled the scene, but sheriff’s deputies caught up with Jennings a day later.
He denied being at Burton’s home or having any involvement with the shooting, according to charging papers.