Crime

Man charged with intimidating witness in Tacoma teen murder trial

A friend of one of three men accused of killing a Tacoma teenager was arraigned Thursday on charges he intimidated and tampered with a witness in the murder trial.

The court entered a not guilty plea on 20-year-old Jaquel J. Demerson’s behalf, and Pierce County Court Commissioner Meagan Foley set his bail at $250,000.

Court records did not list an attorney for Demerson.

Prosecutors said he’s friends with 18-year-old Clifford Krentkowski, one of the three men being tried in the death of Brandon Morris, 19.

Investigators said Morris was killed after he and friends were mistaken for gang members outside a convenience store in May 2015.

According to charging papers:

Last week, Demerson told a witness not to testify in the murder trial, and that her decision would affect whether she was safe in Tacoma. Another time, he told her to say one of the other men charged was the shooter.

Prosecutors believe Demerson had been attending the trial, which started July 5.

Krentkowski’s codefendants are Alexander Kitt, 24, and Jermohnn Gore, 17. Also charged in Morris’ death were 16-year-old Trevion Tucker, 17-year-old Jeremy Bolieu and 18-year-old Lance Milton-Ausley.

The six defendants were accused of first-degree murder, second-degree murder and four counts of first-degree assault.

Milton-Ausley and Tucker pleaded guilty to the charges, and await sentencing. Bolieu pleaded guilty to the count of second-degree murder, and was sentenced to 15 years, three months in prison.

Alexis Krell: 253-597-8268, @amkrell

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