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The Times' criminal justice team looks behind the scenes and behind the headlines.

September 23, 2010 at 5:26 PM

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Man guilty of deadly shooting at FedWay transit center

Posted by John de Leon

Merlin N. Bell was found guilty Thursday of second-degree murder with a firearm and unlawful possession of a firearm in connection with a fatal shooting last September at the Federal Way Transit Center. Bell, 29, faces between 17 and 25 years in prison when he is sentenced.

The victim, De'Von Winston Parks, 19, was shot Sept, 17, 2009, following an altercation with Bell in the bus-loading area at the transit center. The center is just north of The Commons at Federal Way, formerly known as SeaTac Mall.

Bell will be sentenced in November, prosecutors said.

The transit center was the scene of another shooting in January 2008, when a bystander, Dar'Rel Miller, was fatally shot as she waited for a bus. According to court documents, a witness said he'd seen a 21-year-old man pull a gun out of his coat, point it at him and fire. But the gunshot missed the man and struck Miller.

The 21-year-old man was arrested and charged. However, the charges were later dropped after private criminal-defense attorneys hired an investigator to review hours of video-surveillance tapes from Sound Transit.

It took several months to clear up the images, but with a forensic videographer, they were able to prove through relative cranial measurements that their client was not the shooter.

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