Crime

Body found in trunk 14 years ago in Tacoma. Alleged killer arraigned Tuesday

Jerry Sellers was found shot to death in the trunk of a car in Tacoma on June 28, 2003.
Jerry Sellers was found shot to death in the trunk of a car in Tacoma on June 28, 2003. Courtesy photo

A man charged with first-degree murder for a body found 14 years ago in the truck of a car in Tacoma got a high bail Tuesday.

Jake Wayne Vigil-Cross, 38, pleaded not guilty at arraignment, and Pierce County Superior Court Judge Shelly Speir set bail at $5 million.

Prosecutors said 29-year-old Jerry Sellers went missing in 2003, and that his girlfriend told investigators at the time he was in the methamphetamine business, had left for a drug meeting with a friend and never returned.

According to charging papers:

Through the years, detectives spoke with six people who said Vigil-Cross told them he shot Sellers in the head, wrapped the body in a blanket and put it in the trunk of Sellers’ 1989 Ford Thunderbird.

Then he had the car with the body inside towed to South 49th and South Prospect streets, one person said. Neighbors told investigators they saw a man matching Vigil-Cross’ description leave the car there.

Sellers’ girlfriend also said Vigil-Cross stopped by Sellers’ home the day he went missing.

Prosecutors charged him earlier this month and he was transferred from prison to the Pierce County Jail for arraignment. He is serving a 43 1/2-year sentence for a different homicide.

In that case, Vigil-Cross was convicted of second-degree manslaughter for shooting 25-year-old Nathan Allen in 2006 at an East Tacoma party.

Vigil-Cross and friends crashed the gathering, and he started shooting when they were asked to leave.

Alexis Krell: 253-597-8268, @amkrell

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