Reaves charged with second-degree murder in brother's death; arraignment Oct. 10

Jawaad Darcelle Reaves, 21, was charged with second-degree murder Tuesday in the death of his brother, Jermaine.

Reaves was transferred from San Juan County Jail to Island County Jail. He is being held on $100,000 bail. Arraignment is scheduled here Oct. 10, 9 a.m. His attorney is Bill Jaquette of the Snohomish County Public Defender's Office.

Second-degree murder is a Class A felony. The maximum sentence is life in prison and a $50,000 fine. The standard range of sentencing set by the state is 123 to 220 months in prison.

Chief Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Charles Silverman said second-degree murder means an individual intentionally killed someone "or was committing a felony and in the process caused the death of that individual." He would not comment further on the case.

At 2:40 a.m. Sunday, sheriff’s deputies went to Reaves' apartment at 500 Tucker Ave. to investigate a domestic violence report made by a neighbor. When they arrived, they were met in the parking lot by Jawaad Reaves.

“He met the arriving units,” Sheriff Bill Cumming said Sunday. “He was highly agitated and upset about the circumstances.”

In the apartment, deputies found Jermaine, mortally wounded with a gunshot wound to the chest. Reaves was taken by Airlift Northwest helicopter to St. Joseph’s Hospital in Bellingham, where he was pronounced dead.

In the apartment at the time were the Reaves’ mother and a friend. The brothers lived together in the apartment, Cumming said. Also found in the apartment: A 20-gauge shotgun. Cumming believes Jermaine Reaves was shot once. Silverman said the mother and friend were present when Jermaine was shot. Jawaad Reaves was taken into custody at the scene.

A 20-gauge shotgun is commonly used to hunt small game.

An investigation into the domestic violence report was also continuing Monday, Cumming said.

A standing-room-only crowd, mostly of Reaves’ family and friends, packed the courtroom Monday for a hearing to set bail. Sobs broke out as Jason Napier, a friend of the brothers, described the close bond the two brothers shared, as well as the dreams Jawaad had for himself.

“They were more than brothers, they were best friends,” Napier said. “It's just so hard to imagine this has happened. We’re all in a state of shock.”

Gabrielle Scott, a former islander now living in Chicago, said Jermaine was “polite” and a “gentleman.”

“God rest his weary soul,” she wrote in an e-mail.

In a phone interview, she said, “He was a very polite young man who was trying to make his way in the world. He had had some problems but he was trying to make amends. He was only 21 years old. He hadn’t even started his life yet.”

Shannon Smith said she helped babysit the Reaves boys when they were elementary school age. She said they lived mostly in Seattle but spent a lot of time visiting the island.

"He was funny, he had a good heart, he was well liked," she said. "He will be missed a lot."

Sheriff Cumming remembered seeing Jermaine Reaves over the years. "My view from afar was he was a fairly friendly kid, always a smile, always friendly and approachable."

Diane McGriff, 26, described Jermaine as "always smiling, a happy guy," who taught her daughter, Joanna, to dance to Soulja Boy. She said he worked a variety of jobs at Bella Luna and China Pearl.

"Everyone who knew him knew he was the sweetest man," she said.

Friends knew about his legal problems — he had pleaded innocent to a charge that he had sex with a minor in July and was scheduled to go to trial Nov. 10.

"He was naive," McGriff said. "He said she told him she was 18. He said he should have thought about it, but that he couldn't change it and he didn't want people to think he was a bad guy. He knew he couldn't see his family, he couldn't see kids if he was charged with that."

McGriff said Jermaine lost his job and was faced with losing his car. "He was trying to get his life together," she said.

Besides Jawaad, Jermaine has two other brothers, ages 19 and 6; and a sister, 16.

McGriff described Jawaad as "street smart," "aware of life," and "quiet."

Christine Miller of Miller Drywall said Jawaad has worked for the company for a couple of years and is well-liked by his co-workers. If released on bail, he could return to work immediately, she said.

"He's a great worker, a hard worker. He's always been a great guy around us," she said. "He's happy go lucky, always smiling, always ready. The whole crew enjoyed him."

Miller said Jawaad had indicated that he and his brother were having problems. Recently, the two had a spat and Jermaine abandoned Jawaad at a 7-Eleven in Seattle. Jawaad missed work as a result, Miller said.

"We've heard so much about the not-so-good side of Jermaine," Miller said. "I'm sure others have heard about the not-so-good side of Jawaad."

Meanwhile, Jermaine's friends have organized a series of fund-raisers to help pay for his funeral expenses.

The Jermaine Reaves Memorial Fund has been established at Islanders Bank.

A potluck barbecue is scheduled Thursday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., at the Harbor Ridge neighborhood on Roche Harbor Road. Shannon Smith said donations to help pay for the cost of food are welcome, as are donations to the Jermaine Reaves Memorial Fund.

A fund-raiser is planned Friday, 6 p.m., at Bella Luna Restaurant. The event is open to the public.

On Sunday, American Legion Post 163 will host a spaghetti feed and silent auction, 3-6 p.m., downstairs.

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