4 people charged in connection with murder of Tacoma man

TACOMA, Wash. -- The Pierce County Prosecutor's Office charged four people Friday in connection with the robbery and murder of a 54-year-old Tacoma father of two.

According to the Prosecutor's Office, 17-year-old Jeremy Bennett and 18-year-old Andrew Boyd followed Lawrence Howse into the parking garage of his South Broadway Street condominium Aug. 31 and robbed and shot him as he walked from his car to the elevator.

"He was just trying to go home, you know, the simplest of things we do everyday," said David Howse, Lawrence's brother.

Detectives pieced together descriptions of the suspects based on surveillance footage and witness statements.

According to the Prosecutor's Office, a Sept. 3 robbery of a Walgreens store in which Boyd wore the same distinctive jacket seen at the scene of the Howse murder led detectives to the suspects.

Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist credited the Tacoma Police Department with a quick, smart and thorough investigation.

According to the Prosecutor's Office, Bennett confessed to the robbery and murder, saying Boyd told Howse to take off his pants during the robbery and shot him when he refused.

Boyd told detectives it was Bennett who shot Howse; but Boyd was seen with the gun hours before the shooting, according to the Prosecutor's Office.

Both Bennett and Boyd have been charged with murder and robbery, and Bennett is also charged with unlawful possession of a firearm. Due to the seriousness of the charges, Bennett will be prosecuted as an adult.

"This was a mindless murder that violated a sense of safety in our community," Lindquist said in a press release. "We're going to hold the perpetrators fully accountable, including those who assisted the killers by hiding and destroying evidence."

In addition to Boyd and Bennett, Titeana Bankston, 20, and Jheri Flood, 24, are charged with rendering criminal assistance on suspicion of helping hide and destroy evidence following the murder.

Unrelated to the murder of Howse, Jaron Bennett, Jeremy's 24-year-old brother and a convicted felon, is charged with robbery and unlawful possession of a firearm. According to the Prosecutor's Office, he helped Boyd in the Walgreens robbery that eventually led to the arrests.