Charge: Man killed in Kent over a cell phone

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A 22-year-old man charged with murder Monday allegedly told police he shot a man in Kent because he believed the man took his cell phone.

Jacob Christopher Thiel was charged with second-degree murder for the Wednesday death of Geoffrey Sherrard, 48.

Sherrard slumped into the arms of his pregnant girlfriend, who witnessed the shooting.

The 28-year-old girlfriend told police that she and Sherrard were staying at Thiel's Auburn apartment. She woke up the morning of Jan. 3 to find Sherrard and his car gone. Thiel noticed about the same time that several of his belongings were missing, including his cell phone, according to the probable cause.

The pair took a bus to the Hawthorne Suites on South 212th Street in Kent, where they found Sherrard in his car.

The girlfriend jumped into the passenger seat of the car and, as Sherrard began to reverse the vehicle, Thiel wormed his way in and sat on top of her, according to Kent police reports.

Thiel and Sherrard got into an argument and Thiel's phone was mentioned, court records indicate. Sherrard reportedly yelled at Thiel to get out of the car and off of his girlfriend, who was 10 weeks pregnant.

Finally, Sherrard and the girlfriend allegedly shoved Thiel out of the car through the open passenger side door, reports say. Thiel then pulled out a revolver he'd acquired just a few days earlier and shot Sherrard once in the chest, according to court documents.

Thiel took off running while Sherrard slumped over into his girlfriend's lap.

Police and medics were sent to the scene about 9:09 a.m. and found Sherrard with a single gunshot wound to his right chest. Medics took him to Harborview Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.

Police and search dogs found Thiel about an hour later, deep in a thicket of sticker bushes near the hotel.

Thiel allegedly said during an interview that he jumped into Sherrard's car so that he could recover his belongings from him before he drove away, police reports say. He claimed he could see Sherrard holding his phone.

He reportedly admitted to shooting Sherrard after being shoved out of his car. He said he had thrown the gun into a tree and later helped officers recover it.

A search of Sherrard's vehicle yielded the phone Thiel believed Sherrard stole from him.

Thiel remains jailed on $1 million bail. is a media partner of KOMO News. Click here to read this story on

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