One punch sent John Webber’s dinner flying, knocked him to the ground and gave him head injuries that later killed him, according to charging papers.
Pierce County prosecutors on Monday charged his friend, 27-year-old Joshua Allen Shaw, with second-degree murder for the fatal blow.
Shaw pleaded not guilty, and Court Commissioner Meagan Foley set his bail at $1 million.
According to court records:
Webber, 37, dated Shaw’s 18-year-old sister, until the sister left for college.
Thursday morning, she told Shaw that Webber had been calling her rude names, insulting her and harassing her for about a month. She asked him to go to her ex’s home and ask him to stop.
About 8:30 that night, Shaw and a friend paid Webber a visit.
Shaw and Webber exchanged words outside Webber’s South Hill home in the 15400 block of 75th Avenue Court East. Webber was holding a pot from which he’d been eating what looked like noodles.
Shaw told investigators that Webber, who appeared to have been drinking, put his hands up and leaned back, making Shaw think he was going to hit him.
“I slapped him, and then he fell, and landed on his butt and then flung backwards and then his head hit the cement,” Shaw told a sheriff’s detective.
Shaw’s friend, who saw the incident unfold as he sat in Shaw’s car, told detectives the blow was a sucker punch, and that as Webber fell backward the pan went airborne.
A friend came outside to help Webber, who was still breathing.
Shaw’s friend said they should stay until Webber woke up but Shaw decided they should leave. They changed their minds once they got about a block away, and came back.
Shaw and his buddy said they helped Webber’s friend carry Webber inside, and another person in the home told Shaw it would be fine, and that he should go.
“... she’s like, you should just go, it’s fine, he’s been drinkin’ all day ... he’s been up for three days causing hell,” Shaw told detectives.
It sounded as if Webber was snoring, and it was good he was sleeping, the woman told Shaw.
But it wasn’t an injury he could sleep off. Fire crews were called and began CPR shortly after 9 p.m. Webber was dead by about 9:30 p.m.
The Medical Examiner’s Office said he died from blunt force injury to his head, and that the death was a homicide.
It’s not the first time Shaw has been accused of the death of an acquaintance.
In 2007, he pleaded guilty to vehicular homicide and vehicular assault and was sentenced to four years in prison after a wreck in which a passenger died and another person was seriously injured.
Shaw’s blood-alcohol level was above the legal limit at the time.
He was released from prison about five years ago, early for good behavior, and he was on parole until late 2012.
Alexis Krell: 253-597-8268