Jurors heard closing arguments Thursday in the trial of a man accused of fatally shooting someone while looking for rival gang members to attack in Tacoma.
Adrian Alvarez, 23, is charged with first- and second-degree murder for the death of Robert Doss II.
He’s also charged with first-degree attempted murder and first-degree assault in connection with someone who was injured, and with unlawful gun possession.
Charging papers say Alvarez and two other men were looking for rival gang members to shoot July 18, 2018, in retaliation for a fellow gang member who was injured in a prior shooting.
Jayden Gene Montgomery Fisher, 21, and 25-year-old Joshua Jazz Soria pleaded guilty earlier this year and are expected to be sentenced in the coming months.
The three allegedly happened upon 28-year-old Doss, who charging papers say they believed responsible for the prior shooting, in a car at South 14th and L streets.
Doss was shot in the chest when he was asked where he was from and answered “Hilltop,” according to charging papers. He died at the hospital, and a 20-year-old woman in the car with him was shot in the hand.
Deputy prosecutor Jesse Williams told the jury that Alvarez fired the bullet that killed Doss.
Asked about the allegation that the shooting might have been retaliation, Doss’ uncle told reporters last year: “That’s not our family.”
Michael Doss said his nephew worked security at a fast-food restaurant in downtown Tacoma.
Williams told the jury it’s not clear whether Doss was responsible for the earlier shooting.
“And it really doesn’t matter,” he said.
If accused, Doss was entitled to a courtroom, Williams said, not street justice.
If he had been convicted, his punishment wouldn’t have been death, the deputy prosecutor told the jury.
Alvarez and his codefendants “acted as judge, jury and executioner,” he said.
“We just don’t live in that world,” Williams said. “Justice comes through this courtroom.”
As for the woman who was injured, Williams told the jury she was not in a gang and that she had done nothing wrong.
She almost lost her life as part of an act of kindness, he said. She was bringing Doss dinner and got “caught in the middle of some gang nonsense,” Williams said.
Williams told the jury that a .380-caliber gun was used in the shooting and that the clip from a .380 handgun was found under Alvarez’s bed.
He also said investigators found parts of a destroyed handgun in a fire pit.
And he argued that Alvarez’s argument at trial that Montgomery Fisher was the shooter didn’t make sense.
“The idea that he’s the trigger man is just fantastical,” Williams said.
Defense attorney Travis Currie questioned the credibility of witnesses for the prosecution, and he argued surveillance video of the group that night didn’t prove Alvarez was in the car at the time of the shooting. He suggested Alvarez could have been dropped off somewhere and picked up later.
He also argued that nothing ties the .380 clip found under the bed to the gun used in the shooting.
Even if Alvarez did destroy the firearm, at most that could be aiding and abetting, Currie told the jury.
He also said the men drank alcohol and smoked marijuana and asked the jury what evidence there was that his client was even awake at the time of the shooting.
Alvarez was a junior member of the group, Currie said. He noted a statement Montgomery Fisher made to a corrections officer that Montgomery Fisher killed Doss.
Williams countered that Montgomery Fisher, Soria and Alvarez all killed Doss.
Evidence suggests Alvarez pulled the trigger, he argued.
“It’s all just nonsense, all of it,” Williams said about the shooting and what led to it. “... Mr. Doss didn’t deserve what happened to him.”