Case setting hearing is scheduled for Jan. 3 for Goncalves murder trial

A 29-year-old Friday Harbor man was fatally stabbed Oct. 2 at a link light rail station in Tukwila, Wash. The victim has been identified as Jesse L. Goncalves.

Mehmet A. Whicker, 30, has been charged in King County with murder in the second degree. The state requested bail to be set at $1 million dollars because “the attack was on an apparent stranger at a busy transit center.” Whicker’s criminal history includes felony convictions, robbery, burglary, theft, assault and larceny.

A case setting hearing is scheduled for Jan. 3.

According the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, Whicker has decided to represent himself in his murder trial.

At about 8:40 p.m. on Oct. 2, King County Sheriff’s Office deputies and Tukwila police officers responded to a reported stabbing at the Tukwila International Boulevard Station, 3651 Southcenter Blvd. Goncalves was transported to Harborview Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead. According to an autopsy conducted by the King County Medical Examiner’s office, the victim was stabbed six times – three times in the chest, twice in the back and once on the arm – and died from the chest wounds which punctured his heart. The suspect was identified by witnesses and taken into custody near the station, according to a Tukwila Police Department media release.

According to the detective’s report, witnesses at the scene described an altercation occurring between Whicker and Goncalves. They also reported that the suspect stabbed the victim before running away. One witness told the detective that the victim kept trying to walk away, but the suspect pursued him and called out profanities. Police located the suspect a few blocks from the scene later that night. According to the police report, Whicker had blood on his hands and clothing. Several surveillance videos at the station captured the altercation, according to police. Court documents described the video showing Goncalves attempting to walk away from the suspect several times. Police reported a knife was visible in Whicker’s hand in the video. They also described the tape as showing Whicker lunge and stab the victim. Then he followed the victim and stabbed him several more times. Whicker initially denied being at the light rail station, but later admitted he was there. He told police the victim hit him in the face, but he did not hit or punch the victim.

“When asked about the blood on his hands and clothing, he said he tripped on the highway and cut his lip,” according to charging documents. When investigators told Whicker there were witnesses at the light rail station and video surveillance footage of the incident, Whicker became upset and knocked a water bottle off the table. “Whicker said, ‘If you say I had a knife in the video, if I have a knife, I have knife because people won’t jump, because I keep getting my bones broke…’” according to charging papers. “‘You saw the video, whatever is going to happen is going to happen. I’m not going to say I stabbed the guy. I’m not proud of what’s going on, I’m not happy.’” On Jan. 19, 2016, Goncalves was charged with assault in the fourth degree, assault in the third degree for violence against an officer on duty and resisting arrest. 30 days in jail for assault in the third degree. The other two counts were dismissed.

– Heidi Sanders contributed to this report