Intense emotions during first appearance of suspect accused of killing Seattle business owner

A King County Jail courtroom erupted with emotion as the suspect in the death of a beloved Seattle businessman made his first appearance. The suspect, Ashton Lefall, is accused of killing D’Vonne Pickett Jr. in the Central District on Wednesday.

On Friday, a judge found probable cause to hold Lefall without bail on the charges he faces in Pickett’s death, including first-degree murder.

He is also accused of other crimes in Seattle and is charged with two counts of assault, robbery and unlawful possession of a weapon.

The pain, anger and heartbreak heard from Pickett’s family inside the courtroom was terrifying. It was the first time his mother, sisters and loved ones had come face to face with the suspect since Pickett’s death. As tears streamed down their faces, they let the accusations fly.

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“He’s a coward! He killed my only son! In front of his business! He killed my baby!” shouted Pickett’s mother, Nicky Chappell.

The pain of Pickett’s devastating loss runs even deeper for his family, as Pickett and Lefall were once childhood friends.

“I used to have that boy at my house. I fed him. He called me mom. He shot my baby in the back. He took him from us. I’ll never see my baby again. One more time. One more time and that is all I have. I’m so hurt,” Chappell sobbed.

The grieving mother said Lefall has been a problem for the family for the past two years, claiming he has harassed and stalked them. She said Pickett filed a police report against Lefall in September.

“He definitely had that for my son,” Chappell said.

Pickett was shot multiple times Wednesday at his own business, The Postman, in Seattle’s downtown district. He created the postal service store in honor of his late great-grandfather who worked in postal services for decades.

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Court documents said moments before the shooting, Pickett’s wife was outside the business in her car when she saw Lefall reach for the store’s door. The documents said she was “asked about anyone who allegedly harmed D’Vonne, she identified Ashton Lefall as someone who had repeatedly threatened D’Vonne and his family members, including her.”

“I think he was somewhere waiting and watching,” Chappell said.

Now Pickett’s family wonders what their lives will be like without him.

“My mother lost her only son. The man of the house, the man of the family. It’s not fair. Where do we go from here? How do we put the pieces together?” cried Pickett’s younger sisters, De’Auz’Janae Pickett and Daz’Wonique Morris.

The community is honoring the legacy of a beloved business owner who was killed in Seattle’s downtown district

More than just a successful businessman, Pickett was a devoted father, husband, student-athlete, coached youth sports at Seattle University, and played professional basketball internationally. On Thursday, cries from his mother echoed through the streets as she stood at the memorial in disbelief that her son and all his achievements will be a memorial.

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The family said they are finding comfort and healing from the outpouring of support and community. From the growing memorial outside his business to the candlelight vigil, the family said the light Pickett instilled in so many people will shine bright forever.

“I know my brother is happy because that’s all he wanted. He wanted his legacy to be impactful and that’s what it is,” said De’Auz’Janae.

“There was never a dull moment with my brother. My brother was the center of a table. He brought all the energy, positive energy. The light of the show. Everything I know, everything I push is because of my brother.” said Pickett’s youngest sister, Da’Ajeray Morris.

“Half man, half awesome. D’Vonne Pickett Jr. will live on,” Chappell cried.

Pickett is remembered as a devoted father and husband, successful business owner, star athlete at Seattle University, youth sports coach and a dedicated leader in his community.

The Lefall suspect’s next hearing was scheduled for October 24.

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