A Pierce County jury has found a man guilty of second-degree murder for a fatal shooting last year in a Frederickson mobile home that was filled with bear spray during a fight.
Justin Jennings, 40, contended at trial in Superior Court that he fired at J Christopher Burton in self-defense.
After a day of deliberations, jurors disagreed and on Thursday returned a guilty verdict.
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Jennings is to be sentenced July 20.
Testimony during the trial showed Jennings accompanied a friend to the mobile home on May 6, 2017, to get information about the friend's missing vehicle.
They were armed with bear spray and guns when they arrived, deputy prosecutor Lisa Wagner said, and allegedly started asking occupants of the home for answers.
The dispute escalated to a fight between Jennings' friend and Burton, and Jennings used the bear spray as they wrestled.
That stopped the fight, defense attorney Bryan Hershman told jurors.
Then Burton allegedly started advancing toward Jennings, who said he thought Burton was armed and shot him.
Burton, Wagner told jurors, was in the wrong place at the wrong time. The 50-year-old didn't live at the mobile home, but had been there that day to help a friend work on a vehicle.
His mother, Joanne Burton, held a small urn with her son's ashes as she watched the jury return the verdict.
"He can't hurt anybody else," she said of Jennings.
Burton said that, among other jobs, her son worked as a commercial fisherman in Neah Bay and Alaska. Most recently, she said he'd been working at a friend's auto-wrecking yard in the University Place area.
"Oh, God, he made everybody laugh," she said outside court, explaining her son was a prankster.
He's survived by an adult son, two grandchildren and other relatives.