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No sympathy for accused teen in Greenwood murder

David Peterson was gunned down Feb. 23, allegedly for his cellphone, and people are angry about the suspect, Byron White, and the sentence he could face if convicted.
David Peterson was gunned down Feb. 23, allegedly for his cellphone, and people are angry about the suspect, Byron White, and the sentence he could face if convicted.
Courtesy Kimberly Peterson

There appears to be no public sympathy for the Seattle teen who pleaded not guilty today in King County Superior Court to a first-degree murder charge in the slaying of David L. Peterson, as can be seen by the comments reacting to the KOMO 4 News coverage of his court appearance.

Nobody is criticizing KOMO's story, which stated the facts as they stand. But there is plenty of criticism for the suspect and the justice system that seems to be failing public expectations.

If convicted, according to the Seattle Times, Byron Keith Alonzo White – who was charged as an adult – could face 27 to 35 years in prison, and many people, including Peterson’s widow, say that’s not enough. Some of the remarks about White’s appearance in court, captured in the accompanying KOMO screen shot, suggest people do not believe he should ever be let out of prison. Times readers are not sympathetic, either.

White allegedly tried to steal Peterson’s cell phone on the night of Feb. 23, but when the 53-year-old victim was able to wrestle the phone away, and then called 911 to report the attempted crime, charging documents say the teen came back, pulled a 9mm semiautomatic pistol and shot him once in the chest. It does not appear the murder weapon has yet been recovered by police.

In the charging documents, it is alleged that after the shooting White “expressed his disappointment that (the cell phone) was not a nicer model.” He also allegedly said “that the man had seen his face, and he had to shoot him.”

White was arrested almost a week after the slaying as he waited at SeaTac to board a flight to Atlanta.

It did not take long on the KOMO readers’ forum for the race card to be played, either. White is African-American and Peterson was white.

According to Dan Donohoe, spokesman for the Prosecutor’s office, the case setting is scheduled for March 31.

So far, none of the gun prohibition groups has tried to exploit this crime, because none of the proposed anti-gun legislative "fixes" could have prevented it, if they had been in place, and everybody knows it. The suspect is 17, so if he is guilty, he did not come by a handgun legally and there was no background check. Because he was 17, there is no way legally he could carry a concealed handgun in this state, on the street. Strongarm robbery is already against the law. So is murder. The gun hasn't been recovered, yet, and when it is, the odds are good that it will flag as having been stolen (again, no background check on that "transfer").

This column has previously discussed the Peterson slaying:

Charges filed in Greenwood murder; SAF wins one in California

Greenwood slaying: Some reality lessons for gun banners

Are we dealing with a generation of monsters?

Greenwood murder arrest brings brickbats for Inslee…huh?

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