SEATTLE – A King County Jail courtroom erupted with emotion as the suspect in the death of a beloved Seattle business owner 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 in custody without bail on the charges he faces in Pickett’s death, including first-degree murder.
He is also charged with other crimes in Seattle and faces charges of two counts of assault, robbery and unlawful possession of a weapon.
The pain, anger and anguish heard from Pickett’s family inside the courtroom was chilling. It was the first time her mother, sisters and loved ones had come face-to-face with the suspect since Pickett’s death. As tears streamed down her face, they let the accusations fly.
“He’s a coward! He killed my only son! In front of his workplace! He killed my baby!” Pickett’s mother, Nicky Chappell, yelled.
The pain of Pickett’s devastating loss runs even deeper for his family, as Pickett and Lefall were childhood friends.
“I used to have that kid in my house. I fed him. He called me mom. He shot my baby in the back. He took him from us. I never saw my baby again. One more time. One more time.” . and that’s all I have. I’m so hurt,” Chappell sobbed.
The grieving mother said that Lefall has been a problem for the family for the last two years, claiming that he has been stalking and harassing them. She said Pickett filed a police report against Lefall in September.
“I definitely had it for my son,” Chappell said.
Pickett was shot multiple times Wednesday at his own business, The Postman, in Seattle’s Central District. He created the mail services store in honor of his late great-grandfather, who worked in mail services for decades.
Court documents said moments before the shooting, Pickett’s wife was out of the store in her car when she saw Lefall reach the door of the store. The documents said that “asked about anyone who had harmed D’Vonne, she identified Ashton Lefall as someone who had repeatedly threatened D’Vonne and members of her family, 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 mom lost her only son. The man of the house, the man of the family. That’s not fair. Where do we go from here? How do we put the pieces together?” yelled Pickett’s younger sisters, De’Auz’Janae Pickett and Daz’Wonique Morris.
The family said they are finding some comfort and healing thanks to the outpouring of support and community. From the growing monument outside their business to the candlelight vigils, the family said the light Pickett instilled in so many people would shine 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,” De’Auz’Janae said.
“There was never a dull moment with my brother. My brother was the centerpiece of a table. He brought all the energy, positive energy. The light to the show. Everything I know, everything I push is because of my brother.” said Pickett’s younger sister, Da’Ajeray Morris.
“Part man, part amazing. D’Vonne Pickett Jr. will live,” Chappell wept.
Pickett is remembered as a devoted father and husband, a successful business owner, a star athlete at Seattle University, a youth sports coach, and a dedicated leader in his community.
The next court hearing for Lefall’s suspect was scheduled for October 24.