Now charged with unlawful gun possession, William "Billy" Chambers was among the teens who attacked Edward McMichael - a well-known street musician known as the "Tuba Man" who'd long been a fixture at Seattle sporting events - in October 2008 near Seattle Center.
McMichael, 53, died from his injuries after being released from the hospital. After prosecutors found themselves unable to find witnesses and a juvenile court judge refused try the boys as adults, Chambers, then 15, and the other teens pleaded guilty to manslaughter and were sentenced to short terms in juvenile detention.
Since then, Chambers has been convicted of felony theft and attempted felony assault, the latter from a June 2011 incident during which he rammed a woman's car at a Seattle stoplight. Chambers was sentenced to 22 months in prison and was released from Department of Corrections supervision on July 19, months before his Oct. 3 arrest that prompted the new federal charges.
Federal prosecutors in Seattle contend Chambers, now 19, and two teens were stopped by police in Burien following a report of a car break-in near Southwest 142nd Street and 12th Avenue Southwest.
Writing the court, a special agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said a caller told police one of young man had stolen a rifle from the trunk of a parked car. That 19-year-old fled on foot after dropping the rifle in a car carrying the two other young men.
Investigators contend the theft was caught on video by a witness to the car prowl.
Following up on the report, King County deputy sheriffs apprehended the 19-year-old after a brief foot chase, the ATF agent told the court. Other deputies then stopped the car and arrested Chambers, who was driving the blue Ford Crown Victoria, and the other young man.
Deputies recovered an AK-47-style rifle from the vehicle's trunk, the ATF agent told the court. The gun was seized after a search warrant was obtained.
Speaking with police, Chambers initially denied knowing of the gun but later admitted he suspected the other young man had placed a gun in the car.
Chambers was taken into federal custody Friday, when charges against him were unsealed. He had not yet made an initial court appearance Friday morning.
Prosecutors have charged Chambers with felon in possession of a firearm, a crime that could easily carry a multi-year term in federal prison if he is convicted.
Such a sentence would be the first faced by Chambers, who claimed he'd finally learned his lesson during a 2011 sentencing hearing in the assault case.
"I'm sorry for what happened and I really will learn from my mistakes," Chambers said at the time, apologizing for ramming a woman's car in the Central District.
That day, Chambers was behind the wheel of a mid-1990s Crown Victoria when he rammed another car stopped at 23rd Avenue East and East Jackson Street. The woman driving the other car told responding officers Chambers was angry that she earlier told police Chambers stole from her.
King County prosecutors warned at the time that Chambers had no apparent respect for the law or the safety of others, and Superior Court Judge Joan Dubuque took the unusual step of sentencing Chambers to a prison term longer than the one requested by prosecutors.
While the punishment for that 2011 assault was more substantial, the crime in question didn't compare to the deadly beating of a Seattle icon Chambers and two other teens were convicted in three years before.
Before the Oct. 25, 2008, beating, the group of teens had joined other youths at Seattle Center for a gathering related to a homecoming dance. McMichael, the street musician, was near a bus stop in the 500 block of Mercer Street when the accused teen and several others started beating him. One punched him so hard, the musician fell and hit his head on the concrete, police said.
They grabbed his wallet, and one pulled a 1979 Sonics NBA World Championship ring, given to McMichael from a friend.
McMichael was taken to Harborview Medical Center and later released to recover at his Vermont Inn apartment. McMichael died there of brain trauma on Nov. 3, 2008; a public memorial at Qwest Field Event Center drew about 1,500 people.
For taking part in the beating, Chambers was sentenced to 15 to 36 weeks in juvenile detention. Since then, he's been convicted of theft twice, including a felony conviction in January 2011 that saw him sentenced to eight months in jail, and attempted second-degree assault.
Chambers remains in federal custody.