A 47-year-old man on Friday was sentenced to one year, eight months in prison for participating in what is thought to be the first killing tied to Tacoma’s gang troubles of more than two decades ago.
The sentence handed down in Pierce County Superior Court by Judge Bryan Chushcoff was essentially one of credit for time served for Brian C. Allen, who was arrested in 2013 in the death of Bernard Houston.
Houston was 17 when he was gunned down Aug. 28, 1988 in Tacoma’s Hilltop neighborhood in what prosecutors said was a retaliatory gang shooting. Allen was one of five men prosecutors charged with going out looking for Houston that night. They suspected him of previously shooting at people they knew.
Allen was charged with first-degree murder and drive-by shooting, but prosecutors dropped the murder count in exchange for his testimony against his co-defendants.
Two of the other defendants also were convicted of drive-by shooting after making deals with prosecutors.
The other two were convicted of first-degree murder and are serving lengthy prison terms.
Houston’s death went uncharged until 2013 when Tacoma police detectives gathered enough evidence to take the case to prosecutors.