Charges filed in 'brutal murder' near Lake Desire

A 34-year-old Tacoma man was charged Wednesday with second-degree murder in the shooting death of a 27-year-old man at his home near Lake Desire.

Bail was set at $1 million this week for Steven M. Marshall, who is being held at the Maleng Regional Justice Center in Kent. His arraignment is March 10 at the justice center.

Investigators are still searching for other suspects in what prosecutors write in charging documents was the “brutal murder” of Ryan Prince at his home.

Before he died, Prince provided investigators with a key piece of evidence, a photo of the license plate of the getaway car.

Marshall, a convicted felon, also was charged with second-degree unlawful possession of a firearm.

Marshall was arrested in Tacoma at about 8:45 p.m. Feb. 22. Before his arrest, prosecutors write that he tried to conceal and destroy evidence, including the PT Cruiser he owns that was used to drive to Lake Desire. He told acquaintances he was in trouble and planned to flee.

Prince died of multiple gunshot wounds Feb. 17 when he interrupted a burglary at his home on East Lake Desire Drive, according to court documents. He was confronted by several individuals who fired guns at him numerous times. He died at the scene.

Prince shared the home with two other people, including the owner of several medical-marijuana dispensaries in the Seattle area, where Prince and the other resident work.

A neighbor called 911 after hearing gunshots at the home at about 8:21 p.m. and reported all the lights were on in the house. About 15 minutes later, King County Sheriff’s deputies found the lights off, no one answered the door and nothing appeared amiss, according to court documents. They left.

Prince had deactivated the security system at 8:05 p.m.

At about 10:30 p.m. one of the residents returned home, found the front door unlocked and Prince lying on the floor of his bedroom in the basement. He was unresponsive. She called 911.

The medical examiner determined Prince was shot four times by at least two types of guns. Other injuries suggested he had been in a fight.

The house had surveillance cameras, but the DVR attached to the cameras had been taken from the closet in the basement. But investigators found Prince’s cell phone. On the cell phone was a photo, taken at 8:10 p.m., that had a closeup of the PT Cruiser’s license, AKY8871.

The car’s registration led investigators to a woman in Tacoma, who told them the car belongs to the father of her child – Marshall, her ex-husband. She had given the car to him.

The night of the murder, detectives interviewed the owner of a medical-marijuana shop in Seattle, who told investigators Marshall is one of his marijuana suppliers, prosecutors write. He met with Marshall, who seemed nervous. Two other men were at the house. Marshall asked for the shop owner’s help to burn the PT Cruiser or dump it in a gulch up north. He declined to help and left.

On Feb. 22, the day Marshall was arrested, sheriff’s detectives saw Marshall driving a Dodge Durango. He was arrested as he drove into a driveway at a residence on Hosmer Street in Tacoma.

Detectives found a handgun in a backpack and documents. Shell casings matched those found at the crime scene. He had about $5,500 in cash.

Investigators had found a damaged set of Burberry-brand prescription eyeglasses on the porch of the house at Lake Desire. A Facebook post showed Marshall wearing what appear to be identical glasses. He hadn’t worn the glasses after Feb. 17, according to court documents.

Police are asking that anyone with information about the PT Cruiser or crime call the King County Sheriff’s Office at 206-296-3311 or call Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS.

We encourage an open exchange of ideas on this story's topic, but we ask you to follow our guidelines for respecting community standards. Personal attacks, inappropriate language, and off-topic comments may be removed, and comment privileges revoked, per our Terms of Use. Please see our FAQ if you have questions or concerns about using Facebook to comment.