A man charged in the fatal shooting of a Tacoma man in his home two years ago pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder Wednesday.
Pierce County prosecutors charged Elika Omeli, 23, earlier this month. Superior Court Commissioner Meagan Foley ordered Omeli jailed in lieu of $3 million bail.
Omeli is serving time in prison for a 2013 conviction of third-degree assault for shoving a Fife police officer as he tried to flee during a traffic stop.
Omeil is one of three people charged in the killing of 49-year-old Clarence Tate.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The News Tribune
Co-defendant Thomas Sterling Potts Jr., 35, remains jailed in lieu of $5 million bail.
This is the second homicide Potts has been charged in within the last two months. He was charged in May with second-degree murder for the April 15 slaying of Larnell Griffin at a Parkland apartment during an argument over cellphones.
Omeli’s girlfriend, Cheyenne Caulk, 32, is charged with two counts of first-degree rendering criminal assistance.
The men allegedly killed Tate in his living room on Sept. 5, 2013. Police found him dead from a gunshot wound to the chest. Investigators believe Tate was shot because he had sex with his female roommate, who was dating Potts at the time.
Potts was shot in the leg during the home invasion at Tate’s house in the 600 block of 119th Street South but it’s unclear whether it was accidental or intended to bolster a self-defense claim.
He told police two men shot him on South 88th Street after he declined to buy marijuana.
“A witness reported that Potts said that Omeli told him to shoot Tate and after he did he shot himself in the leg to make it look like it was self-defense,” documents state.
Detectives asked an inmate in the Pierce County Jail to wear a wire and talk to Omeli about Tate’s death. The wire recorded Omeli giving details about the shooting and admitted his girlfriend drove the getaway car, records state.