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Reaves pleads guilty to manslaughter, sentencing Feb. 13

Jawaad Darcelle Reaves pleaded guilty Tuesday in San Juan County Superior Court to one count of first-degree manslaughter in the shooting death of his brother, Jermaine.

Initially, Reaves, 22, had been charged with second-degree murder. Trial was scheduled to begin Feb. 9.

Reaves has been in Island County Jail awaiting trial since the conditions of his release were revoked in mid-December. He had been ordered to abstain from alcohol, live in his uncle’s home, maintain a job, be home between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m., and not leave Washington state without court approval. It was not clear today which of the conditions had been violated.

Reaves is now scheduled to be sentenced Feb. 13.

In the plea bargain, prosecutors will ask that Reaves be sentenced to five years in prison, pay fines and fees of $1,855 and serve up to 48 months probation. Reaves is prevented from asking for a sentence of less than 27 months, according to court documents.

A Class A felony, first-degree manslaughter carries a maximum penalty of life in prison, a $50,000 fine, or both; however, the standard range of sentencing set by the state is 78-102 months.

Reaves has been represented by Snohomish County public defender Bill Jaquette, who declined to comment.

Reaves fatally shot his brother Sept. 28 in their apartment on the 500 block of Tucker Avenue. Officers went to the scene in response to a domestic violence report. When they arrived, they were met in the parking lot by Reaves.

In the apartment at the time were the Reaves’ mother and a friend. Also found in the apartment: A 20-gauge shotgun.

Reaves pleaded innocent Oct. 10 to second-degree murder. Bail was reduced from $100,000 to $50,000, and Reaves posted bail and went back to work for his employer, Miller Drywall.

The fatal shooting left those who knew the brothers grief-stricken and perplexed.

"They were more than brothers. They were best friends," uncle Jason Napier said after the shooting.

Friends described Jermaine as "always smiling, a happy guy." He worked a variety of jobs at Bella Luna and China Pearl. But the 22-year-old had some 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. Friends said Jermaine lost his job and was faced with losing his car.

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

Meanwhile, Jawaad's employer said he was well-liked by his co-workers, and the company allowed him to return to work immediately upon his release on bail.

"He's a great worker, a hard worker. He's always been a great guy around us," Christine Miller of Miller Drywall said at the time. "He's happy go lucky, always smiling, always ready. The whole crew enjoyed him."

First shooting death since 2002
The Reaves' shooting death was the first shooting death in Friday Harbor since Aug. 3, 2002.

On that date, Danny Aznoe shot and killed his stepson, Christopher Avery, in the parking lot of Avery's apartment on Guard Street. The shooting occurred during an argument.

Aznoe was charged with second-degree murder but pleaded no contest to second-degree manslaughter in a plea agreement agreed to by his attorney, prosecutors and Avery’s widow, Mary. Prosecutors asked for a five-year prison sentence and payment of $116,000 in restitution to Mary Avery.

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