A 22-year-old Auburn man pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder for allegedly shooting a man Jan. 3 in Kent near the Hawthorn Suites hotel.
Jacob Thiel entered his plea Monday in King County Superior Court at the Maleng Regional Justice Center in Kent. Thiel has a court hearing Feb. 5 when a trial date could be set or attorneys could ask for more time to prepare the case. Thiel remains in the county jail in Kent with bail set at $1 million.
Prosecutors allege that Thiel shot Geoffrey Ronald Sherrard, 48, of Renton, because he believed the man had stolen his cellphone and other items from his apartment. Sherrard died from a single gunshot wound to the chest, according to the King County Medical Examiner’s Office.
The 28-year-old girlfriend of Sherrard was at the shooting scene and told police that she and Sherrard had spent the night at Thiel’s apartment in Auburn. When she woke up, Sherrard was gone. He had left in his black Toyota Solara. She called him and discovered he was at the Hawthorn Suites, 6329 S. 212th St. The girlfriend and Thiel took a bus to the hotel to find Sherrard.
They found Sherrard sitting in the driver’s seat of the two-door vehicle parked in front of the hotel. The girlfriend got into the car and Thiel came in right after her and sat on top of her, according to the police report. Sherrard yelled at Thiel to get out of the vehicle, according to the girlfriend. She said the two men also yelled at each other, something about a cellphone.
Sherrard and the girlfriend shoved Thiel out of the car. As soon as Thiel was out of the vehicle, he pulled out a handgun and shot Sherrard once in the chest, according to the police report.
Thiel told police he ran toward Sherrard’s vehicle and saw him with his cellphone. He said he exchanged words with Sherrard, who then began to reverse the car with Thiel partially inside. He said Sherrard and the girlfriend pushed him out of the car. He said he was afraid his leg might get run over, so he pulled out his gun and fired at Sherrard.